Movie Review – About Schmidt

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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About Schmidt is about silence, about loneliness, about old age, about melancholy, about retired life and is just about perfect. Loneliness is a regular motif in Alexander Payne’s movies. His name goes synonymous with the theme he selects every time. He is highly rated by critics (how I’d have loved to use the word ‘fellow critics’ here) and hailed as one of America’s greatest talent but the two films which I watched of his, Sideways and The Descendants failed to impress me.

about schmidt

It was a pleasant surprise when I saw Jack Nicholson there in About Schmidt but when you have a performer of his caliber there is always a risk of things being over done. His slightest moves could become a cinematic miracle. To keep him composed on screen is a herculean task. Like every movie of his here too he’s the center of attraction. This might be the least heroic movie he had ever acted.

Watching this movie on a Friday night after heavy work spoilt my day. I was so very tired when I started watching this movie. I was so intrigued by the movie that I couldn’t immediately sleep after watching it. It took me good two hours to get into slumber.

The opening credits were brilliant with a series of unrelated images finally leading to the office of Schmidt. We see Schmidt sitting there in his final hours of office. Once the time’s up he leaves from the office. We see an empty room with only clock and the title flashes there. That’s how empty Schmidt’s life is going to be after this time. We could either envy him saying that he went home as soon as its time or pity him thinking that the time was up for him. I thought the second way.

Once the titles are over we see Schmidt along with his wife driving to his retirement party. The very first look of his wife made me smile. I felt happy seeing the couple and there in the party what I witnessed was one of the beautiful dialogues ever seen in cinema. That could be made as a definition of retirement in a common man’s dictionary.

Once his wife dies he lives the life he wants to, travels around, wakes up late and gets to do things that he normally wouldn’t have been allowed to do. His joy is short-lived, when he comes to know that her wife had had an affair he becomes upset and terribly angry. Only when he too realizes his wife had not loved him entirely he starts feeling for her. Weeps for her demise.

He tries to get a little close with a lady whom he encounters. Only after being rejected he gets to know he’s all alone. He sits on top of his caravan and cries out talking to his wife. Schmidt running to caravan and the toys on top of moving van were great shots. While the first one was funny the second one was queer and beautiful.

When I didn’t like Sideways and Descendants why did I like this movie. I’m a fan of aged people, yes. But is it the only reason. Only with this film I could understand what Payne was trying to. Descendents could have worked for me if not so many people had praised the movie. I couldn’t find anything superior. Sideways wasn’t okay for me neither, the scene where Giamatti and his girl talk about wine was terrific but as a whole I didn’t want so much sentiment in a bachelor movie. All I wanted was fun like Hangover, even if it was meant to be cheap humor I’d have been okay with it.

When I started with the review of this movie I was afraid that I’ll get into a limbo like how it happened for Raging Bull but a setting similar to movie, a lonely night of a desolate individual helped me getting in write to put down the varied thoughts running in my mind to paper. This is one of the memorable movies watched by me in this year.


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