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

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters
In honor of this week's release of "Focus," here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that "con" comes from "confidence." A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in their schemes. And cons make great movies. If you haven't seen these, crank

posted 3:45:21pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Love & Mercy with Paul Dano and John Cusack as Brian Wilson
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VUhFpFQeilM?rel=0" frameborder="0"] "Love & Mercy" tells the story of Brian Wilson, the brilliant but troubled member of the Beach Boys.

posted 8:14:21am Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Contest: Win an Insurgent T-Shirt
Getting ready for the second film in the "Divergent" series? Not sure you have just the right thing to wear? I'm here to solve your problem! I have an "Insurgent" t-shirt (Size L) to give away!

posted 3:55:04pm Feb. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Toys That Impair Imagination: The Over-Licensing of Children's Toys
It's always tempting to give children toys from the movies and television programs they love, and some of them are high-quality or even educational. But Melissa Atkins Wardy has a very good argument

posted 8:00:05am Feb. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Ryan Potter, Hiro in "Big Hero 6"
Ryan Potter provided the voice for Hiro in this week's DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week, the Oscar-winning Big Hero 6. Talking to him on the phone, it was easy to imagine I was talking to Hiro himself. Other than a few moments with Maya Rudolph, who played Hiro's harried guardian, he did not interact

posted 3:58:31pm Feb. 24, 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.