About Schmidt (8)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


  I was not looking forward to this movie.  Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is a 66-year old man, just retired, who has lived a life of quiet complacency, who loses his wife suddenly.  This forces him to deal with everything sheís done to make his life placid; cooking, cleaning, and planning, and the results are not positive.  So he sets out in his Winnebago to his daughterís wedding to someone he views as a jerk.  This turns into a Holden Caulfield-type journey of personal discovery in the seventh decade of his life. Knowing that the running time was two hours and six minutes, my thought was that there was no way this wonít be long and tedious.

 Well, was that ever wrong!  This is an enchanting, poignant comedy, with an emphasis on the poignancy that held my interest and never dragged, even though Nicholson is on the screen for almost every minute.  In fact, probably only Nicholson could pull this off and hold your interest throughout.  This is a Nicholson youíve never seen, an Oscar-level performance.

 There is one thing, however, that deserves criticism, the scenes where we see Nicholson going to the bathroom.  Iím sorry, but I donít ever want to watch anyone going to the bathroom.  These scenes are unnecessary and detract from the overall quality of the movie.

 I donít like reviewing good movies because thereís nothing much you can say about them without spoiling them for the reader.  Suffice it to say that, whether you find it sad or funny, or both, this is a rewarding, entertaining film.

 January 14, 2003

 The End