To escape an abusive boyfriend, without announcing her plans in advance, Jean Gilkyson takes her young daughter Griff to the Wyoming ranch of her father-in-law, Einar. Jean and Einar are disaffected, as he blames her for the death of his son in a car accident. Einar is taking care of his friend Mitch, who was attacked by a bear, and Einar does not know that he has a granddaughter. While Mitch heals and forgives the bear, Einar also changes his feelings regarding Jean, finally understanding that accidents happen and accepting her and loving Griff. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Mitch Bradley's (Morgan Freeman) house there's a painted portrait of a black Civil War Union sergeant on the wall. Freeman played Civil War Union Sergeant-Major John Rawlins in Glory (1989). See more »
When Jean and Griff are first shown driving away, the car is shown going down a gravel road. Griff asks her mom about a couple of towns when the car breaks down. The next shot is Jean, standing outside on a nice paved two lane highway hoping to see another vehicle. The camera shot shows the highway far into the distance with no sign of a dirt road. See more »
[talking to raccoon]
I heard you interfering little bastards rummage around my yard. I'll thank you for keeping the owls off of my cats.
See more »
An excellent film with Redford and Freeman in fine form. Not to be missed.
An Unfinished Life may be the sweetest movie you'll see this year, and certainly the most beautiful. Take yourself to the theater, then look forward to the DVD.
We are treated to watch Robert Redford play a perfect curmudgeon, crusty, craggy, a rancher named Einar Gilkyson, in his 60's who has a lot to do every day. His first duty is to take care of his best friend and long time cowboy buddy, Mitch Bradley, played by Morgan Freeman. Then he gets to milk the cows. Their friendship carries the film through the ups and downs of life, with Mitch as the guiding light to Einar's disgruntled reality.
Unable to pull her own life together, Einar's daughter-in-law arrives with Einar's granddaugther in tow, needing a temporary place to stay. Jennifer Lopez plays Jean, and her daughter, Giff, is well played by Becca Gardner. The daughter-in-law is immediately rejected by Einar, still feeling the loss of his son and blaming her for it. They stay any way, and the story develops their lives as the four of them work out their differences while living on the ranch in a stunningly beautiful valley. Josh Lucas plays the local sheriff, a handsome man that reminds one of the younger Robert Redford. He gives spark to Lopezs character while being a complete gentleman.
An Unfinished Life brings a man and a bear together to acknowledge each others strengths, and brings an unhappy, bitter man to realize that he still has an amazing family right in front of him. Appreciation and forgiveness, along with some adversity, show us that unity is still possible even given previous misunderstandings and alienation's.
Every one in the film does a good job, and you feel like you have just visited the ranch and had dinner with these characters, and you want to go back for breakfast. The relationships in this film are realistic and intelligent, not sappy nor Hollywood glossy.
This is a wonderful film and it is a great delight to watch Redford, Freeman, Lopez, Lucas and Gardner play their parts in such gorgeous scenery. There is plenty of humor in the film, and an honest look at how we work out our emotional dilemmas and hang ups and eventually bring out the best in ourselves, often by being around someone else's best.
You will feel bested yourself, for watching this fine film. Compliments especially to Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, a dynamic duo. They are a perfect compliment to each other, and their maturity is a great bonus to the film.
88 of 100 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?