About Schmidt


About Schmidt

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 203

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 90,646


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.2/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

About Schmidt Photos

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 process.

Watch it now


Jack Nicholson
as Warren R. Schmidt
Kathy Bates
as Roberta Hertzel
Hope Davis
as Jeannie Schmidt
Dermot Mulroney
as Randall Hertzel
June Squibb
as Helen Schmidt
Howard Hesseman
as Larry Hertzel
Harry Groener
as John Rusk
Connie Ray
as Vicki Rusk
Len Cariou
as Ray Nichols
Mark Venhuizen
as Duncan Hertzel
Phil Reeves
as Minister in Denver
Matt Winston
as Gary Nordin
James Michael Connor
as Randall's Best Man
Jill Anderson
as Bridesmaid Reading St. Paul
Vaughan Wenzel
as Man Mourning Helen
Judith Kathryn Hart
as Woman Mourning Helen
Marilyn Tipp
as Neighbor Lady
Robert Kem
as Priest in Omaha
Melissa Hanna
as Dairy Queen Employee
Tung Ha
as Frat Kid
James J. Crawley
as Other Frat Kid
Stephen Heller
as Tire Store Employee
Lester KillsCrow
as Native American Cashier
Thomas Michael Belford
as Funeral Director
McKenna Gibson
as Six-year-old Jeannie
Stephanie Curtis
as Twelve-year-old Jeannie
Beth Heimann
as Wedding Singer No. 1
Linda Wilmot
as Wedding Singer No. 2
View All

Critic Reviews for About Schmidt

All Critics (203) | Top Critics (44)

  • A character study that has the emotional richness of the great Italian and Eastern European films of the 1960s, in which humor and pathos rode up and down on the seesaw together.

    May 17, 2018 | Full Review…
  • These filmmakers have a feeling for the isolation of blasted lives, but they also can't resist putting them down.

    Jan 16, 2003
  • A poignant marker in the career of a major artist.

    Jan 8, 2003
  • This is a startling, resonant, life-affirming movie -- both deeply funny and deeply moving.

    Jan 7, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce

    Top Critic
  • A thought-provoking and often-funny drama about isolation.

    Jan 3, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • A cuttingly funny, moving portrayal of a man searching for meaning in his unremarkable, unmemorable life.

    Jan 3, 2003 | Rating: 4/4

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
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

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Bates, June Squibb, Howard Hesseman, Len Cariou, Cheryl Hamada, Christine Belford, Harry Groener, Connie Ray, Mark Venhuizen Director: Alexander Payne Summary: When insurance actuary Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) retires and his wife dies, he looks for life's meaning on a road trip to his daughter's (Hope Davis) upcoming wedding to a waterbed salesman (Dermot Mulroney). But Schmidt can't seem to get anything right. En route to the wedding, he shares his life through letters with a Tanzanian boy he's sponsoring for 73 cents a day -- and soon, Schmidt discovers renewed purpose. My Thoughts: "Love Jack Nicholson but didn't love this movie. It was just OK for me. I guess maybe I was expecting to much from this movie considering it has Jack and Kathy Bates in it. The acting from them both was good as always, and they carried the movie. It was sad, depressing, and dark. It has some comedic moments. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea as people say. Maybe I will watch it a second time around and change my mind. Not likely though."


Super Reviewer

About Schmidt Quotes

News & Features