7.1/10
121,516
636 user 224 critic

About Schmidt (2002)

Trailer
2:36 | Trailer
A recently retired man embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding, only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.

Director:

Alexander Payne

Writers:

Louis Begley (novel), Alexander Payne (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 25 wins & 69 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Warren Schmidt
Kathy Bates ... Roberta Hertzel
Hope Davis ... Jeannie Schmidt
Dermot Mulroney ... Randall Hertzel
June Squibb ... Helen Schmidt
Howard Hesseman ... Larry Hertzel
Harry Groener ... John Rusk
Connie Ray ... Vicki Rusk
Len Cariou ... Ray Nichols
Mark Venhuizen Mark Venhuizen ... Duncan Hertzel
Cheryl Hamada Cheryl Hamada ... Saundra
Phil Reeves ... Minister in Denver
Matt Winston ... Gary Nordin - Warren's Replacement
James M. Connor ... Randall's Best Man (as James Micheal Connor)
Jill Anderson Jill Anderson ... Bridesmaid Reading St. Paul
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Storyline

Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has led a safe, predictable life working in the insurance industry in Omaha, Nebraska 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, Colorado. Written by wacoastguy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Schmidt Happens

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alexander Payne said the only actor he had in mind for the role of Warren Schmidt was Jack Nicholson, and he was going to do whatever he could to convince him to work on this movie. See more »

Goofs

The Tony Roma's restaurant where the rehearsal dinner is held, is (was, it's now closed), in Omaha, Nebraska, not Denver where the event was held. See more »

Quotes

Warren Schmidt: You can't marry him. I mean... Look at these people!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film title appears above the New Line Cinema Release credit as end credits are done. See more »

Connections

References The Straight Story (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Takin' Care of Business
(1970)
Written by Randy Bachman
Performed by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

 
Classic Cinema Art - A "Must See" Film!
8 April 2006 | by trgusaSee all my reviews

I spent a day watching "About Schmidt", with Jack Nicholson... and then the evening rambling through reviews, since my wife's perception of the ending differed somewhat from mine....

Conflict can often lead to enlightenment and discovery, but not so in the case of Warren Schmidt. In his case it leads to a life of complacency, denial, delusion, and passive-aggressive behaviors... and eventually, to a meaningless life of servitude devoid of passion or purpose.

Since my wife and I are around the same age as the character, and we ponder the same issues of our lives, the film had more significance to us. I found the work to be a cinema-graphic piece of art laced with symbolism and dark humor (at best). I likened it to previous movies like "Death of a Salesman", "The Apartment", "The Swimmer" (Burt Lancaster), or a short filmed called "The Bridge".

As a cautionary tale (or social comment) on the "American Way" of life, the messages it conveys are slightly exaggerated, but nevertheless there to be debated. We are talking about identity, achievement, interpersonal relationships, and the "average IQ".

In the end, I believe this film will become one that is studied in future classrooms, and it was brave of Nicholson to participate in such a character study and a work intended primarily for writers, actors, and directors. If laughter is "the sound we make when we are surprised (or shocked) by the truth", then the amount of humor you find in this film may be directly related to your own level of naivety or denial. After all, laughter can often be just another defense mechanism, right?

Some movies are straightforward, some are magical, some are mystical, and then, some are symbolic. This movie falls into the last category. The use of time, space, cognitive dissonance, and Irony abound in this work and challenge us to look, think, and feel.

Notes: we would have cut or altered the "Percodan scene" at the rehearsal (as overdone), also note- the cattle at the funeral who later appear on the freeway, inside jokes about Des Moines and Denver, Randall's "Certificate of Attendance", the look on Jeannie's face at the end of Warren's speech at the Wedding Reception, the use of "overstatement", details of wall decorations, and Warren's obvious attraction to the trite, idealistic, delusional, and superficial.

If you are a thinking, feeling, serious movie-lover, you should SEE this film once, and then STUDY it the 2nd time!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

About Schmidt See more »

Filming Locations:

Nebraska, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$282,367, 15 December 2002

Gross USA:

$65,016,287

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$105,834,556
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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