An old man makes a long journey by lawnmower to mend his relationship with an ill brother.An old man makes a long journey by lawnmower to mend his relationship with an ill brother.An old man makes a long journey by lawnmower to mend his relationship with an ill brother.
Nothing Runs Likes a Deere.
A beautiful and very emotional "Harry and Tonto"-styled movie experience as Oscar-nominee Richard Farnsworth (playing the real-life Alvin Straight) decides to travel on his old riding John Deere mower from Iowa to Wisconsin to see his ailing brother (Harry Dean Stanton) because his driver's license has been revoked, he doesn't like public transportation and he has no one else to drive him. The two brothers have not been on speaking terms for many years and now the clock is literally ticking on one last chance for them to see one another and hopefully make amends for past mistakes. Sissy Spacek gives one of her finest performances as Farnsworth's slightly mentally retarded daughter and the supporting players are all real and heartfelt caricatures of America's heartland. Outstanding film-maker David Lynch (to me the finest living American director, along with Martin Scorsese) goes totally out-of-character with a 180-degree turn from whacked triumphs like "The Elephant Man", "Blue Velvet", "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" and "Mulholland Dr.". He quietly and methodically creates a G-rated family film that has deep messages for people of all ages and backgrounds. He paints a picture of America where the old ways of life are still the most important. Farnsworth (who is a total revelation) was in excruciating pain throughout filming due to terminal cancer and terrible arthritis. Notice he stands very little in the movie and he is almost always filmed from the waist up. Sadly this would be his final performance as he committed suicide shortly after his Oscar nod. He did become the oldest nominee ever in the Best Actor category, but really that will become trivial as time passes and his role will be the thing that shines brightly forever. Truly a legacy production for all involved. 5 stars out of 5.
- May 12, 2004
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