Movie Mom

Movie Mom


About Schmidt

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Nudity and explicit sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, and drug use
Violence/Scariness:Mild
Diversity Issues:All characters white
Movie Release Date:2002

Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) sits at his desk as though he was standing at attention during a full-dress inspection. As he watches the clock move from 4:58 to 5:00, he is as clenched as a fist.

It is Warren’s last day on the job as an actuary for the appropriately-named Woodman insurance company. He has coped with a life of disappointment and emptiness through rigidity. He is stingy with words, money, and emotion. He does not confide in anyone but us, the audience and a little boy in Africa he “adopted” by agreeing to send him $22 a month. When Schmidt tells us that he looks over at his wife and wonders who that old woman is, we know that when he looks in the mirror he wonders who that old man is, too.

Schmidt’s daughter Jeannie (Hope Davis) is getting married to Randall, a man with a mullet who sells waterbeds (Dermot Mulroney), and this is just one more in a series of disappointments. When Schmidt’s wife dies, and then when he finds out that she was keeping a secret from him, he becomes completely unstuck from his moorings. He may have hated his life before, but at least he knew what he was supposed to do and had the luxury of blaming someone else for everything he did not like. His only satisfaction – that of playing by a set of rules he understood and supported in theory – now seems foolish. He takes the huge motor home his wife made him buy and sets off in it toward his daughter’s house. And in the grandest tradition of story-telling, it is a journey that is both physical and psychological.

He plans to try to stop the wedding, but after a lifetime of going along with other people’s rules, he has no idea of how to proceed. The best he can do is make a weak protest to his daughter, who lets him know that his support is much more valuable to her than his advice.

Nicholson is mesmerizing. His Schmidt is funny, irritating, pitiable, and utterly heartbreaking. Kathy Bates, as Randall’s mother, is magnificent in a performance that is full-bodied (in both senses of the word). The details of middle American ceremonies – the retirement party, the funeral, the wedding – are all just right, sharply observed but affectionate.

Parents should know that the movie includes very strong language and sexual references and situations, including adultery. Characters drink and smoke. There are tense and sad family scenes that may upset some viewers.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Schmidt confided in a little boy he had never met instead of any of his friends or family. What do you think he will do next? What should he do? What should he have done that would have made him happier?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Harry and Tonto with an Oscar-winning performance by Art Carney.



Previous Posts

The Woman in Gold
The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." She was a warm, vibrant young woman

posted 5:58:01pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: The Woman in Gold's Simon Curtis and E. Randol Schoenberg
Director Simon Curtis told me, "My last film was My Week with Marilyn, and this one is my century with Maria."  He is referring to "The Woman in Gold," with Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, who brought a lawsuit to get back the portrait of her aunt Adele, painted by Gustav Klimt, which had been stole

posted 3:37:47pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Faith-Based Movie Picks -- The Today Show
In honor of Easter and Passover, the Today Show has some good suggestions for faith-based movies, from the very serious and respectful to the light-hearted.

posted 3:13:29pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Another "Star is Born" Movie? Possibly, with Bradley Cooper as Director and Beyonce to Star!
A movie that's already been done three times (at least) may just get yet another remake if the rumors are true that Bradley Cooper will direct and Beyoncé will appear in "A Star is Born."  The original 1937 version, said to be inspired by (among others) the marriage of aging vaudeville star Al Jol

posted 3:54:02pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip and Contest: What Would Jesus Do -- The Journey Continues
We are honored to present an exclusive clip from "WWJD (What Would Jesus Do): The Journey Continues," inspired by the best-selling classic book In His Steps. WWJD: The Journey Continues is availab

posted 3:40:29pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.