About Schmidt (2002)



Critic Consensus: In this funny, touching character study, Nicholson gives one of the best performances of his career.

Movie Info

Warren Schmidt is a retired insurance salesman, who at age 66 has no particular plans other than to drive around in the motor home his wife insisted they buy. He's not altogether bitter, but not happy either, as everything his wife does annoys him, and he disapproves of the man his daughter is about to marry. When his wife suddenly dies, he sets out to postpone the imminent marriage of his daughter to a man he doesn't like, while coping with discoveries about his late wife and himself in the … More

Rating: R (for some language and brief nudity)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jim Taylor, Alexander Payne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 3, 2003
Box Office: $65.0M
New Line Cinema - Official Site


as Warren R. Schmidt

as Roberta Hertzel

as Jeannie Schmidt

as Randall Hertzel

as Helen Schmidt

as Larry Hertzel

as John Rusk

as Vicki Rusk

as Ray Nichols

as Duncan Hertzel

as Minister in Denver

as Gary Nordin

as Randall's Best Man

as Bridesmaid Reading S...

as Man Mourning Helen

as Woman Mourning Helen

as Neighbor Lady

as Priest in Omaha

as Dairy Queen Employee

as Frat Kid

as Other Frat Kid

as Tire Store Employee

as Native American Cash...

as Funeral Director

as Six-year-old Jeannie

as Twelve-year-old Jean...

as Wedding Singer No. 1

as Wedding Singer No. 2
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for About Schmidt

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for About Schmidt

All Critics (221) | Top Critics (45)

Sharply observed, Alexander Payne's poignant comedy is a character study of an ordinary American, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and in the process becomes humanized and extraordinary.

Full Review… | January 20, 2011

Alexander Payne's poignant serio comedy is a sharply observed character study, featuring Jack Nicholson in a towering performance as an ordinary American embarking late in life on a journey of self-discovery.

Full Review… | January 19, 2011

Heartfelt Nicholson, not for kids at all.

Full Review… | September 2, 2010
Common Sense Media

About Schmidt is a touching, human story about a man who comes to the realisation that his life is nothing more than a failure.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

"About Schmidt" is a hostility-provoking film for the same reason that American citizens have lost their civil rights. The picture endorses, nay lionizes, complacency, inaction and the privilege of the greedy to steal whatever they covet simply because th

Full Review… | April 15, 2009

A simple, silent, static shot of Nicholson's face is one of the most beautiful, powerful, indelible images of the 2002 movie year.

Full Review… | February 6, 2009

Audience Reviews for About Schmidt


Alexander Payne and Jack Nicholson together? Awesome! But seriously though, this is a great movie.

It's a moving story, if a bit depressing, but it's told so well, and the performances are absolutely brilliant. Much was made about Kathy Bates' nude scene, but it's handled well, kinda fun (in a good way), and not a big deal. I'm not saying I liked seeing her naked, but c'mon, it actually could have been worse. Thankfully it's not cruel or exploitative.

I don't want to watch Payne's films too often, even if they are absolutely fantastic. His mastery of dark humor and uncomfortableness is both good and bad. He does it so well, and makes it all work and watchable, but the problem is, it can be a bit too real, thus difficult to watch very often. That's definitely the case here. It's a little easier to handle Sideways, though.

I like this movie a lot. It's funny, finely observed, and just really honest.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Another genuine, intelligent gem in Alexander Payne's short but ingenious filmography. Jack Nicholson turns in one of the best performances of his career in this profoundly realistic film from the master of the tragicomedy.

Tyler Christian
Tyler Christian

Super Reviewer

Schmidt is such a peculiar fellow, brilliantly played by Nicholson. His simplistic reserve and insulation have made him content in his routine of the past 42 years. This movie follows him as that routine is just absolutely shattered, nearly all at once, and we watch him struggle. Absurd characters, or caricatures really, abound to provide comic relief against the reality of Schmidt's situation -- maybe they are presented as Schmidt's impressions. I feel like this is only half the story. I really want to know what becomes of our "sad, sad, lonely man." But it ends in a touching way, so like Ndugu, I'll hope for the best.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

About Schmidt Quotes

– Submitted by Ahmed S (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss About Schmidt on our Movie forum!