The Straight Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Straight Story Reviews

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August 21, 2017
A little too minimalistic in its seemingly non-invasive filmmaking at times. It felt like the various characters along the journey were played like stereotypical Midwestern simpletons a bit too much. But the film's heart is in a good place, so I can forgive a lot of this for the emotional effective story it tells.
½ June 29, 2017
A change of pace for director David Lynch and perhaps the one true oddity in his oeuvre. In 1993, Alvin Straight, then 73 years old but with failing eyes and legs, drove his riding mower 300 miles to visit his estranged brother who just had a stroke (cameo by Harry Dean Stanton). Maybe Lynch saw surrealism in the story or maybe his innate conservatism (championing family values) drew him to the material. If you look carefully, you can see his style of filmmaking in the way that the camera simply observes everyone in a matter-of-fact style and the dialogue (which he didn't script himself) is the same sort of non-ironic plain-speaking you get from characters in his other projects. However, this is G-rated heart-warming material released by Disney, not a vision of the dark forces intruding on all things wholesome (although in the very beginning when we hear an ominous thud and the camera zooms up to a shuttered window, I wasn't quite sure). Only rarely do things turn a bit weird, almost as if Lynch felt it was obligatory. But these moments distract from the main story which is really about Straight (played touchingly by Richard Farnsworth, who died soon after at age 80) and his interactions with other people, including his autistic daughter, Rose (played by Sissy Spacek), and the unbelievably kind Midwesterners he meets along the way.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2017
Walt Disney and David Lynch are two names that you wouldn't ordinarily expect to see involved on the same project. Disney is, of course, the leading production brand for family entertainment and Lynch's work couldn't be further from that magical and innocent material. However, that's exactly what we're looking at with The Straight Story which is a complete change of direction from the usually dark and disturbing Lynch and he proves to his naysayers that he's entirely able to construct something of a different nature altogether.

Plot: After hearing that his estranged, older brother has taken seriously ill, 73-year-old Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) decides that he's going to put aside their differences and visit him before it's too late. Unable to drive a car or take public transport, Alvin buys himself a ride-on lawnmower and begins his long journey over hundreds of miles in the most unconventional way.

Not just in terms of the main characters' namesake, The Straight Story is exactly what it sounds like; a straight and simply told tale that's, without doubt, the most accessible film on Lynch's resumé. Those with a sound knowledge of Lynch will notice that the characters have no nefarious purposes, there's no metamorphosis, dream logic or hidden metaphors. This is an emotional and heartfelt odyssey about self-reflection, regrets and family connections and there's nothing to suggest that Lynch isn't absolutely at ease with lighter material. His film is a beautiful and poignant road trip that's full of pathos and stunningly captured landscapes.

Despite the simplicity, Lynch still can't contain his propensity for oddball characters and slightly off-key tones but it entirely works for this material. What's most strange about this story, though, is not as a result of Lynch's involvement but because it's actually based on a remarkable true story. The one thing that will draw reminders to Lynch's usual work is his love for small town America and the odd inhabitants therein. Although he keeps himself on a leash, he is still able to capture the idiosyncrasies and mannerisms of ordinary people which still adds a (albeit lesser) surrealistic flavour to the film.

Lynch is aided considerably with regular collaborators as well; Freddie Jones' sublime cinematography captures some stunning images and Angelo Badalamenti's beautiful score compliments the proceedings.
At the heart of the film, however, is a commanding and heartfelt central performance from Richard Farnsworth. Rightly Oscar nominated for his superb work, Farnsworth is the beating heart of this story - a man that has come to terms with himself and the mistakes he's made in life but still has enough left in his twilight years to right some wrongs. Sadly, Farnsworth's outstanding performance is tinged with poignancy and sadness itself as the actor died with a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head, shortly after the film's release. Apparently, he himself, was nearing the end of his life with bone cancer and took the decision to go out on his own terms - much like the character of Alvin Straight.

A wonderful and measured piece of storytelling from David Lynch. For those that can't handle his darker and more twisted films, then this is one for you. There's no denying it's charm and it's introspective reflection of life and all the challenges that come with it. This really is a pleasant, yet bittersweet journey.

Mark Walker
May 31, 2017
Wow... It's a must see movie... That's all I need to say.
May 25, 2017
An unconventional Disney film directed by David Lynch. I liked the story and the country element, but it was somewhat of a dull movie that didn't always keep my interest. (First and only viewing - 12/17/2010)
May 3, 2017
A very different kind of film for David Lynch and a great last hurrah for Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story is a low key movie about the odyssey of an old man across the heartland of America on his John Deere riding lawnmower to see his estranged brother. Along the way this gentle soul reaches out to people he meets, changing his and their lives forever. A well directed and visually beautiful film with a terrific performance from Sissy Speacek (does she give any other kind?) This is truly a classic American film.
½ April 14, 2017
Weird and moving. Celebrates the quirkiness of its material but embraces in its sentimentality.
½ April 2, 2017
hey this is probably the best David Lynch movie
½ March 28, 2017
I have to view this again, but the memories I have of it are fond. Pretty good movie.
March 28, 2017
To put it simply, this is the most beautiful movie ever made. Period.
March 27, 2017
Very slow, yet beautiful. It's all worth it for the ending.
March 6, 2017
The pacing may be a little off, but this Midwestern American odyssey from iconic surrealist David Lynch (of all people) is memorable and tender.
January 29, 2017
For a true story that was made in quite a simple way, it seems to deserve a good rating. Complimenting along with the good acting, it was a straight-forward film and it may have been a bit slower then it should've been, but it was nice and touching enough to at least say that the overall film is certainly more good then not.
January 21, 2017
De ida para encontrarse con su hermano antes de que alguno de los dos se muera, Alvin atraviesa el desastre ecológico de los cultivos extensivos sin cortinas rompeviento y reparte lecciones de vida entre las personas que se encuentra. Las historias de abuelito se enlazan y complementan a las novedades en el camino. Un viaje apacible que da un sentimiento de paz. 8/10
November 6, 2016
A lonely and slow moving film that ultimately has exactly everything you would want out of it, and filled with memorable characters and stories. Oh, and also slow moving, almost painfully slow. But for a film with a plot of a man driving a lawnmower over 300 miles, it isn't something that I can necessarily say should not have been done, but that doesn't mean it doesn't drag its feet. Ultimately, it is a satisfying tale filled with parts that won't easily be forgotten.
November 2, 2016
A very nice tale about to brothers' reunion after a very long time. Great job done by the whole cast.
October 2, 2016
Very delicate, warm and beautiful movie. While different from most movies of Lynch, it actually has the same delicate touch as the Elephant Man, which also was based on a true story.
½ August 12, 2016
David Lynch? A straight, coherent narrative with nothing to interpret? OK. VERY sweet, flirting with saccharine, but I think doing just enough to avoid it. And in all honesty, probably a better story than Forrest Gump, with bonus veracity behind it. Just a couple of minor complaints here and there, e.g. the old woman picking up the phone in a panic saying she can't remember the number for 911. Ridiculously lame joke, sorry. But like I said, minor complaints is all. This is a fine way to introduce your kids to the filmography of David Lynch, build their trust and then drop Eraserhead on their asses.
August 10, 2016
anyone who 's never seen this will never forget it. just watch it.
August 7, 2016
Lynch is known for films that operate within our subconscious. Some of us like this. Other's dislike this. Others don't even get what Lynch is doing in his films. But this is a film for everyone with a heart, which is something we don't ever expect to hear about a Lynch film. The Straight Story is exactly what the title of the film suggests. It's a straight story. Simplicity is Lynch's greatest ally in this film, and that's a good thing on so many levels. It was time for Lynch to break away from the surreal and all of the complications that go a long with surrealism. Sometimes trying to uncover who Killed Laura Palmer, figuring out who the missing ear belongs to, and making sense of Eraserhead gets too overwhelming. We need a film that is as easy to watch as it is to drink a nice cup of damn good coffee. Damn good film you've crafted, Mr. Lynch.
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