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An Unfinished Life

4.3 out of 5 stars 9,383 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the acclaimed director of CASANOVA, CHOCOLAT, and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES ... Academy Award(R) winners Robert Redford (Best Director, ORDINARY PEOPLE, 1980) and Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, 2004) star in this powerful story of risk and redemption. Stoic and heartbroken, Einar Gilkyson (Redford) quietly lives in the rugged Wyoming ranchlands alongside his only trusted friend, Mitch Bradley (Freeman). Then, suddenly, the woman he blames for the death of his only son arrives at his door broke, desperate, and with a granddaughter he's never known. But even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection, adventure, and forgiveness. Also starring Jennifer Lopez (SHALL WE DANCE?) and Josh Lucas (SWEET HOME ALABAMA, GLORY ROAD).

Amazon.com

Much like the late Rodney Dangerfield, some films just can't get any respect. Shelved by Miramax for two years, An Unfinished Life was released with little fanfare between Morgan Freeman's Oscar win and Lasse Hallström's higher-profile Casanova. Despite critical praise from some quarters, the heartland drama got lost amidst the shuffle. The title comes from the epitaph of Griffin, late son of Wyoming rancher Einar (a rumpled Robert Redford). Between chores, he looks after ranch hand Mitch (Freeman), who was mauled by a bear the year before. One day, daughter-in-law Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and granddaughter Griff (Becca Gardner) drop by the ranch unexpectedly. They're on the run from Jean's abusive boyfriend, Gary (Damian Lewis), back in Iowa. "I don't want you here," Einar states flatly--he blames her for Griffin's death 12 years ago--but the look on the kid's face convinces him to relent. While Jean works as a waitress in town and embarks on a tentative relationship with Sheriff Crane (Josh Lucas), his newfound granddaughter helps to take care of Mitch. Just as the four are starting to form a loose-knit family, Gary comes looking for Jean and upsets the delicate balance. It may pack fewer surprises than the superior What's Eating Gilbert Grape and the bear symbolism may be a mite heavy-handed, but the deeply unfashionable An Unfinished Life deserves a second chance to find an audience. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • "The Making Of An Unfinished Life" featurette
  • "Training Bart the Bear" featurette
  • Still gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Josh Lucas, Damian Lewis
  • Directors: Lasse Hallström
  • Writers: Mark Spragg, Virginia Korus Spragg
  • Producers: Alan Ladd Jr., Bob Weinstein, Graham King, Harvey Weinstein, Joe Roth
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: April 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9,383 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E5KQOQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,328 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An Unfinished Life" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This is a character driven movie with solid performances from Redford, Lopez, and Freeman. Although it is not a comedy, there are many funny lines and character quirks that make you want to keep watching. Each character is on a journey of healing past wounds and is dependent on the others for guidance and insight. As with the movie 'The Horse Whisper' the beauty of the land is breathtaking. It is a thoughtful movie that doesn't rush anything. I loved this movie and would recommend it if you are willing to be patient with the slow pace of the story.
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Einar (Robert Redford), a crusty old rancher, does what he can to hold onto his Wyoming ranch. It's been a struggle for years; his son was killed in a car crash, his wife left him, and his longtime friend and helper, Mitch (Morgan Freeman) was recently mauled by a bear. Now, Einar has to care for Mitch, administering morphine, helping him recover. Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and her daughter, Griff (Becca Gardner) have to leave Jean's current abusive boyfriend. The only place they can go is the ranch of Griff's grandfather, Einar, who learns of his granddaughter's existence upon their arrival. He doesn't exactly welcome them.

Lasse Halllstrom's newest film "An Unfinished Life" is being dumped by the studio. The first few weeks of September are always a dumping ground. People are too busy with "Back to School" to get excited about movies, so they stay away. The studios clear out some backlog, usually crap, waiting for attendance to pick up. While "An Unfinished Life" is certainly not groundbreaking, it is a very good film, and deserves some audience.

From the moment we realize Redford's crusty old rancher character is going to take in his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, you will be able to predict just about every moment of the extremely predictable story. Something else needs to catch our attention, to keep us watching. That "something" is the performances.

While the stories of Lasse Hallstrom's films ("The Cider House Rules", "Chocolat", "The Shipping News") may veer towards the schmaltzy, maudlin and/ or predictable, he is generally able to get interesting performances from his actors. In "The Cider House Rules", Michael Caine brought his character to life, earning another Academy Award and overshadowing his co-stars, Tobey Maguire and Charlize Theron.
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This is absolutely one of the best films I've ever seen. We almost missed it. Somebody was asleep at the studio when "An Unfinished Life" was released with so little fanfare. The acting is superb, the scenery breath-taking. The story packs a powerful message of forgiveness and redemption. We laughed, we cried. This film has it all. "Brokeback Mountain" pales by comparison. I'm predicting "An Unfinished Life" is going to become a classic.
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Excellent movie all around! This movie is a very good story about pain, guilt and unfinished lives for most of the characters in this movie and how they all get past these issues and move forward with their lives!

A must watch film if you are looking to get away from chick flicks, mindless action flicks, and movie re-makes!
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My wife came home with a rented DVD tonight; although I pride myself on trying to keep up with the latest films--what's good, what's not, etc., I had never even *heard* of this film. But I looked at the cast: Redford, Freeman (who is *always* good!), J Lo (yawn--but I was surprised!), etc., I thought "OK, I'll watch".

I was hooked with the opening scene, as a Grizzly Bear wanders through the Wyoming landscape; then, it took a little while for the film to get going, but then it started "clicking". What makes this film work on so many levels is the brilliant acting of Robert Redford (his finest in *years*--he should have been nominated for an Oscar for this one), Morgan Freeman (again, as always), and even J Lo turns in a credible performance. The little girl is very believable, as well.

The film's themes of the importance of family, forgiveness, redemption, etc are handled very well. And all of this against an absolutely gorgeous Wyoming background which was mesmerizing on my Widescreen TV!

This film was HIGHLY satisfying, and I'm going to order it ASAP. Get this and watch it with your family; you won't be sorry.
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This movie is a keeper. I first viewed it on cable and decided to purchase it. I actually purchased two copies so that I could give one to our neighbors. I just knew that this was the perfect movie for them, so I couldn't not buy them their own copy. Turned out that I was right on...they watched it five times in two weeks, and I received alot of positive feedback from them for the gift. Others that I've loaned it to also really liked the movie. It's not really action packed like so many of today's movies and is somewhat predictable and feel good, but the characters are very likable, and who doesn't like to get a warm feeling from watching a good show once in a while? For anyone who has been brought up in the Western states, it is easy to feel a kinship with some of the characters, because you have met or known some like them at some point in your life. I would definitely recommend this movie.
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