Movie Magazine International

The Straight Story

USA - 1999

Movie Review By Blue Velvet

To most Walt Disney Productions and David Lynch sit on opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum. However, "The Straight Story," a G rated film distributed by Disney and directed by Lynch, proves to be a magnificent intersection between two unlikely partners. Leaving aside the novelty of the Disney & Lynch partnership, "The Straight Story" seriously surpasses expectations and offers viewers an astounding mixture of unusual creativity and surprising sensitivity.

The film chronicles the true story of Alvin Straight who in Fall of 1992 rode his lawn mower across Iowa to see his sick brother in Wisconsin. Legally blind with weak arthritic legs, the determined 73 year-old Straight braves the universe's control on his journey. On the highways of rural Iowa, Straight imparts sound wisdom and lends a good listening ear to the folks he meets along the way.

David Lynch remarked that Richard Farnsworth was born to portray Alvin Straight and indeed Farnsworth's performance bares the innermost workings of Alvin's soul. Also superbly cast is Sissy Spacek as Straight's supportive homebound daughter.

Fans of David Lynch should definitely see this film if they appreciate the director's personal unique style of making even the most humblest scenes reverberate with a strange surreal flair. Lynch's protagonist again hits the road in American steel and it's too beautiful to witness Straight on his 1966 John Deere lawn mower, slowly passing over the lines on lonely Iowa highways. As with most Lynch films, some very strange characters supply a dose of subtle black comedy.

Abstract in spirit, the film's very thorough and carefully charted pace might dismay those Lynch fans who thirst for Lynch's notorious talent for creative dementia and sexual psychosis. However, with its pervading gentle quality against the beautiful Fall setting "The Straight Story" may win over the hearts of family viewers and die-hard Lynch fans. This is the beauty of David Lynch where anything is possible, including his refreshing versatility to shock, disappoint, or endear people with a film so heartfelt. For his next film, we can barely guess where Lynch will escort his legions of fans both old and new.

© 1999 - Blue Velvet - Air Date: 10/20/99

"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index

"Movie Magazine International" Home Page