Customer Review

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie for grown ups that packs an emotional wallop, December 26, 2002
Jack Nicholson shines in his sensitive, tour de force performance as Warren Schmidt, the vice president of an insurance company who finds retirement anything but fulfilling. In fact, his world starts to crumble in short order, along with his relationships, his priorities and his very sanity. A superficial reading would pigeonhole Schmidt as Willy Loman retread, minus the heart condition, but Alexander Payne plumbs deeper emotional currents with this wonderful film - the sort of film that reminds you why you go to movies in the first place. To the director's credit, the film never crosses the line (so common in today's Hollywood "output") of ridiculing its characters and their sensibilities. Make no mistake: Midwestern middle-class values go under the magnifying glass, but just when the viewer starts to feel superior, zing! Payne pulls you back from the brink, and you find yourself caring deeply about Warren Schmidt and his universal predicament. The editing, the supporting cast (especially Kathy Bates), and the cinematography are well-nigh perfect, which allow Nicholson to soar. The layers of his character, a man who sees the truth but dares not express it to the people closest to him, come to a boil of mixed emotions of anger, fear and despair by the film's last scenes and transcendent finale.
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Location: Seattle, WA USA

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