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

Little Orphan Annie: From Comic Strip to Radio, Broadway, Television, and Two Movies
The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray.  Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience cau

posted 8:00:48am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

A Trailer for A Movie You'll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna
"Moonquake Lake" has a lot of star power behind it -- "LEGO Movie" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks....intriguing, some sort of "Twilight"-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn't real. "Moonquake Lake" is a movie with

posted 3:54:43pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014
The Library of Congress has announced this year's additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes

posted 12:34:12pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014
One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think it is fair to say we had more and better choices this year than we ever have before. Here are

posted 9:14:29am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

A Hannukah Version of "Shake it Off!"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NoHp2Rq8sMI?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:41am Dec. 17, 2014 | 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.