Secondhand Lions | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Secondhand Lions

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Robert Duvall and Michael Caine whoop it up as crazy old millionaires in 1950s Texas who grudgingly agree to look after their morose grandnephew (Haley Joel Osment) while his duplicitous mother (Kyra Sedgwick) goes off to school. Written and directed by Tim McCanlies, this is the sort of funny, humane, honorable story that families need more of, though viewers of any age should be hooked by the mystery surrounding the brothers' riches. In a key scene, Duvall tells the boy, "Things that may or may not be true are the things a man ought to believe in"--a moral too challenging for McCanlies, who abandons the story's carefully constructed ambiguity in a mawkish, feel-good coda. I was bitterly disappointed to see this turn into sugar-frosted cereal right at the end, but the warmth and understanding marshaled up to that point are still treasure. 107 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, City North 14, Crown Village 18, Esquire, Ford City, Gardens 1-6, Golf Glen, Lake, Norridge, Village, Wilmette.

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