The Straight Story Reviews
''The Straight Story'' is astonishing in how simplistic, yet deep it is. Everything about Farnsworth's performance is brilliantly simple, just an old american trying to visit his brother before it's too late, and because he's not allowed to drive, he decides to drive cross country on a lawn-mower with a max speed of 5 miles an hour. This seems like a melodramatic plot to a cheesy movie, but keep in mind, this is based on a true story, and it handles the material perfectly.
Following that notion is how simple but incredibly heartfelt the screenplay is, with simple characters saying things like: ''What is the number for 9-1-1?!'' or ''What do you need that grabber for Alvie?, Alvie answers: Grabbing'. '' but this screenplay also includes some philosophical, deep and meaningful dialogue like when Alvie tells a story to another war veteran about the war, or a little game he used to play with his children (i dont want to spoil anything, but you'll know what i mean when you'll watch it) and there are many more scenes like that.
''The Straight Story'' is a straight-forward movie that's simple and easy to follow, unlike previous Lynch movies, but Lynch does make this story his own by using imagery and metaphors while shooting this movie. For example the people Alvin talks to, the first he talks to is a young runaway and he tells a story about how many kids he's had and how many grandkids, then he talks to a bunch of adolescents, then to an old war veteran in a bar, then to a pastor in a cemetery, all before his journey ends and visits his brother Lyle. Also the landscapes he drives through start of by being green, full of life, and sunny. But slowly digress into darker imagery, a girl hitting a deer before his eyes, him almost crashing down a hill because of the weakness of his lawnmower, and talking to a pastor on a cemetery. (You see/get the idea right) But the plot is so simple, yet so brilliant and dualistic, the clues in this film...as to why Alvin Straight is REALLY going to see on his brother on his tractor, are delivered with a degree of subtle high-art that even most reviewers of this film missed, but to give a hint... Runaway Girl (aka Dorothy from Oz invoking "no place like home" to start the journey) = Human Birth
Deer-strike Lady = Human Ambition (with the leering deer symbolizing that which is lost in its wake)
Tractor Brakes/House On Fire= Lynch's explanation of what REALLY happened...pay VERY close attention to that scene.
The Handymen Dialogue= Human Honesty (as a result of the above)
Bartender Scene= Human Accomplishment
Graveyard Scene= Impending Mortality
Dead Engine Short Of Destination= Deserved Punishment (notice how Alvin accepts this knowing he has earned this fate) and finally, I feel the greatest moment in the Lynch film...
Old Man On Tractor= God Camera Pans Away= Dignity Of Private Confession Immaculate Repair= Sins Forgiven
The Straight Story is a G-Rated masterpiece.
(Tip: before viewing, bring a box of tissues because, man, this film will tear you up. Multiple times. e.g The ending with his brother... yes... the bar scene with the two aged characters talking about the war... yes... Rosie's story of losing her kids... yes... Really, anytime Straight talked about his life or extended his thanks for someone's courtesy... yes, it had me crying)
All in all ''The Straight Story'' is an absolutely beautiful film, and a hidden gem in Lynch's filmography overshadowed by his magnum opus'.
''The Straight Story'' is anoverlooked and forgotten masterpiece.