The Straight Story (1999)


David Lynch directs the true story of Alvin Straight, a man too elderly and infirm to drive who rode his sit-down lawnmower across hundreds of miles to visit his estranged brother after a stroke.

I must admit that this type of “inspirational” true life human drama is the kind of thing that I find about as appealing as a strangulated hernia, and if Lynch had not been directing I would have given it a wide berth. I’m glad i didn’t. It’s the moving tale of a man coming to terms with old age and his own mortality and allowing the things he has come to realise are unimportant to just slip away from his life. It’s full of rich, beautiful imagery, accompanied by a haunting and understated soundtrack and Richard Farnsworth is superb as Straight, a man not shown as some all knowing lifestyle guru; just an old man whose long life experience has given him an unpretentious pragmatism that clears away all the bullshit of modern life. One of those films that makes you all misty without even knowing exactly why, Lynch’s unsentimental approach is devoid of all the kind of emotional manipulation and saccharine that usual accompanies this kind of thing and as such has a far greater impact.

A beautifully understated film.




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