The Straight Story

Rated G 111 minutes 1999

A welcome change of pace (1999) from David Lynch, based on the true story of Alvin Straight, a midwestern septuagenarian who rode 240 miles on a lawn mower to visit his estranged brother after the latter suffered a stroke. The wonderful Richard Farnsworth plays the lead, and he was clearly born for the part; the script is by John Roach and Lynch's editor and coproducer, Mary Sweeney. Lynch's imaginative and heartfelt direction falters only when he tries for some of his relatively familiar weirdo effects. Otherwise this is a highly affecting and suggestive spiritual odyssey with plenty of all-American trimmings and reflections about old age. If some of the imagery suggests very-high-level calendar art, Lynch's use of the 'Scope frame is even more attractive than in Blue Velvet, and the film's reflective rhythms are haunting. With Sissy Spacek.

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