What could be so enthralling about an ailing old geezer travelling on a lawnmower some 240+ miles across the heartland of America from Laurens, Iowa, to Mount Zion (and I don’t mean the Rastafarian promised land), but a place in Wisconsin?
Nothing much in the hands of any ordinary director–but David Lynch and screenwriters, John Roach and Mary Sweeney, imbue this simple tale with enough wisdom and colourful stories and characters from the life of the real 73-year old Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), a World War II veteran, as to make this film an unmissable tear-jerker.
“You don’t think about getting old when you’re young,” Alvin muses, “but there’s nothing good about being lame and blind at the same time.” He’s making the long road trip at 5-miles an hour to see his estranged 75-year old brother, Lyle, who’s just had a stroke.
Alvin has decided to put their differences aside and make the journey his way. But “the worst part about being old is remembering when you were young,” and along the way he meets some fascinating people and passes on his words of wisdom.
The Straight Story is gentle, touching film about old age and forgiveness–a wonderful little road movie that reminds us all of the kindness of strangers.