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The Straight Story
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Based on the true story that captured the hearts of America, THE STRAIGHT STORY is one of those rare films offering powerful, uplifting entertainment for audiences of all ages. Directed by acclaimed director David Lynch (WILD AT HEART, MULHOLLAND DRIVE), this gentle, inspiring film celebrates the human spirit. Richard Farnsworth (MISERY, THE NATURAL) stars as Alvin Straight -- a no-nonsense man who has never been one to lean on others. Now at an age when his eyesight denies him the ability to drive and walking is accomplished only with the help of two canes, Alvin lives a quiet life with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek). But when the call comes that Alvin's estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton, THE GREEN MILE) has suffered a debilitating stroke, Alvin embarks on a dangerous and emotional journey to make amends. With little money, but plenty of patience and tenacity, he climbs aboard his 1966 John Deere lawnmower and plots the 260-mile course from his small Iowa town to Lyle's home in Wisconsin. Filmed along the actual route that the real Alvin Straight traveled in 1994, THE STRAIGHT STORY is a heartwarming and poignant drama chronicling Alvin's six-week odyssey and the many lives he touches along the way.
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The film stars Richard Farnsworth as Alvin Straight and Sissy Spacek as his daughter Rose. The two performers are simply outstanding in these roles and the film, which was directed by David Lynch, is full of unforgettable moments, great lines, and wonderful sentimental scenes that can really tug at your heartstrings. The scenery and the people that Alvin meets along the way will have you hoping that a world like that still exists. Kindness, love of family, and the wisdom of old age are some of the themes presented within the story. There are so many great scenes in the movie and one that stands out to me, for some reason, is when Alvin is buying the "grabber" at the hardware store. I don't want to spoil the scene if you haven't seen the film, but the acting is just superb and it reminds me of some folks that I grew up around when I was a kid. I love how Alvin compares family to a bundle of sticks and the very memorable line concerning the worst thing about growing old...."is remembering when you were young". Wow. The film is definitely a hidden treasure and I enjoyed it immensely. I'm so glad that I stumbled across the score for the film because otherwise I don't think I would of ever heard of the film or the real life story that it is based upon.
I guess a Blu-Ray version of the film has been released but it doesn't look like an American release so I opted for the cheaper DVD version. The DVD version has a very strange looking cover (looks just like the one pictured currently - photo surrounded by gold border). There are no special features included with the DVD version other than the original theatrical trailer. I was hoping they would include a short documentary about the real story...but it didn't. The film looks fine to me for a DVD and while many of us are getting spoiled with Blu-Ray and 4k picture...the "primitive" DVD format did not hinder my enjoyment of the film at all. Surprisingly, my 6 year old came in when I started watching the movie and ended up watching the whole thing. I thought it would be too slow but he stayed because he wanted to see if the "old man would make it to his brother". Anyway, it's a great film and maybe some others will discover it too like I did. It'll sure speak volumes to you if you listen and we sure could use a little bit of this in today's world for sure.
I'm not sure why there is not a Blu-Ray version of this movie put out by an English speaking country, but you shouldn't hesitate to buy the Japan import unless the price is too high for you.
This movie was not for the shallow-minded. We can all gain from the life-lessons, and love, of Alvin Straight.
Thank you, David Lynch, for bringing us such a gem.