A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Warren Schmidt has led a safe, predictable life working in the insurance industry in Omaha, Nebr. for many years, yet now faces retirement. At the same time he is forced to take a hard look at his wife, his life and his relationship with his estranged daughter. An often hilarious series of events follow as Schmidt embarks on an unpredictable RV journey to attend his daughter's wedding in Denver. Written by
Alexander Payne didn't meet the writer of the novel the film was loosely based on, Louis Begley, until the film premiere. See more »
When Warren Schmidt leaves Roberta Hertzel's house to go and sleep in his RV, the RV is noticeably tilted to the right due to its being parked on the side of the street. When he is inside, it is perfectly level. See more »
All of a sudden you're taking an interest in what I do? You have an opinion about my life *now*? Okay, you listen to me. I am getting married the day after tomorrow and you are going to come to my wedding and you are going to sit there and enjoy it and support me or else you can just turn right around right now and go back to Omaha.
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Of course we would hope that is not the case but watching a movie like this certainly puts the idea of life into question. This is a funny movie but looking back its probably not quite the kind of jokes you appreciate laughing at.
In the lead role as Warren Schmidt is none other then Jack Nicholson, with an already astute résumé, only further strengthens his long career with his subtle and charming performance. The charm never wears off with the audience as Schmidt's morals and interest for the most part stay in place in his heart and mind. Unfortunately in the tale of Schmidt in the film not only does his charm wear off but he is seen as a liability by those who he thought of as his loved ones. His life takes this crash when he retires from his career and an insurance agent. Soon after he realizes he may have wasted his entire life away. The downward spiral of his life and his sense of purpose hangs on the thread of a boy he has never even met.
As subtle as Nicholson's performance is, so is the writing. It is quietly very witty which almost inconspicuously gives off a whole lot of cynicism. Along with Alexander Payne writing the screenplay he directed the film as well. The movie is certainly not all style and why should it be when that could possibly be the only thing that could really hurt this film. The film is about humanity in a raw and complex way, sometimes the best method of showing this is through simplicity to the point where you are almost certain there is something else that lies behind the curtain of it all.
There is no doubt I would recommend this film but don't expect a pure comedy. Instead try and take a fresh and real look at the entire movie and the events that take place. Depending on who you are, you may find certain points of this movie to be either sorrowful and dejected or slightly uplifting and optimistic. Just don't make a heartless joke of it, because none of us want to think of our life as that; a joke.
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