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jbonzon

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29 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Great note on appreciating what you have while still have it, 28 November 2003
8/10

This is an inspiring story. It teaches me so much about what is important in life. Jack Nicholson, with a great performance as Warren R. Schmidt is an example of an American middle class after retiring. For many years he has worked as an actuary at a big insurance company. After retiring, Jack at home, while watching television, he decides to sponsor a six years old boy (Ndugu) from Tanzania. Sending a check of US$ 22,00 every month, he is also required to write a letter to the boy. In the process of writing these letters, he vents out to the boy about his life frustrations, his lost dreams and the dilemma he is in. He is married for forty-two years with his wife Helen (June Squibb) and he has a daughter living in Denver, Jeannie Schmidt (Hope Davis) who will marry a looser pretty soon. He misses his daughter. A few days after his retirement, his wife dies, and Jack realizes how important the wife was in his life now even though he never appreciated her. The director of the movie, Alexander Payne takes the audiences with Jack on a trip in a trailer to visit specific places in America. He mainly makes Jack visit the places where he has been before physically but at the same time Jack was revisiting his own life inside. In this trip he realizes what really matters in life - friendship, family and sharing- then why it is important to appreciate them whenever you have a chance.

In 'Citizen Kane' (1941), the director Orson Welles portrays the same idea when creating Mr. Kane. The movie is more than the story of a tycoon's rise and fall; it is an account of what is ultimately important in a person's life. Even though Kane attains riches and prestige, he is far from happy. He ends with two failed marriages and few friends. At his dying bed, all he has left is his reminiscences - and something called "Rosebud." In 'About Schmidt' the director Alexander Payne uses voiceover to convey Jack's thoughts and memories throughout the movie. To be specific it is when Jack is writing a letter to the boy he sponsors - (Ndugu), at the same time Payne is informing the audience about Jack's regrets and pain concerning his wife and daughter while the movie is still rolling on. I think this is a great technique.I believe this has been a great adventure and wake up call to many Americans as to what is important in life and why we should cherish every moment of it.