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About Schmidt

Where to Watch About Schmidt

R
2002

About Schmidt is an American comedy-drama film from 2002, based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Louis Begley. Directed by Alexander Payne, an accomplished director known for his ability to bring an insight-filled and humoristic approach to the bitter truths of life, the film stars the iconic actor Jack Nicholson, along with talented co-stars Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, and Kathy Bates.

Jack Nicholson delivers a powerful performance as Warren Schmidt, a man dreading the prospect of his fast-approaching retirement. After spending his entire working life dedicated to the seemingly mundane job of an actuary at an insurance company in Omaha, Nebraska, Schmidt finds himself teetering on the edge of an existential void as his structured life is about to be upheaved. Nicholson's nuanced acting helps the viewer to dive into the deepest strengths and weaknesses of his character, and it's a character with which many can identify.

Hope Davis portrays Schmidt's daughter, Jeannie, who was often at the receiving end of Schmidt's somewhat cold and emotionally distant fatherhood. Davis gives a striking performance as Jeannie, injecting sincerity and occasional defiance into her character. Dermot Mulroney appears as Randall, Jeannie's offbeat fiancé. As Jeannie is preparing for her wedding in Denver, Schmidt, with too much time on his hands, embarks on a solo journey in his RV to see her. The aim is to convince her to reconsider her choice of a husband--an aim that is often comic and tragic in equal measures.

What really distinguishes About Schmidt from a typical "road movie" is Schmidt's self-reflective voice-over narration accomplished through letters to Ndugu, a six-year-old Tanzanian boy whom he sponsors through a charity organization. These letters serve as a vehicle for Schmidt's introspective monologues about his life, dreams, failures, and the many regrets he has.

Kathy Bates plays Roberta, Randall's eccentric mother, whose free-spirited nature and overwhelming presence add color and additional layers of comedy to the narrative. Her relationship with Schmidt offers some of the funniest and most uncomfortable moments in the movie.

Despite its comic overtones, there are undercurrents of profound sadness and regret in About Schmidt, making it a poignant exploration of old age, loneliness, and the search for self-worth in the sunset of life. Alexander Payne, through effective storytelling and compelling character development, paints a picture of a man who, after losing his wife and job in quick succession, is left grappling with his legacy. His inner journey for self-discovery is as scenic as the external journey he undertakes through the Midwest's heartland.

The film also pays homage to the mundane aspects of life that are often overlooked in films; the tedious routines, the disappointment of failed expectations, and even the harsh realization of one's insignificance in the grand scale of existence. Yet, it also subtly conveys a message of hope—that sometimes an outsider's perspective, even from a child as far away as East Africa, can bring new meaning and solace to life.

A special mention should be made about the film's technical aspects. The cinematography beautifully captures the vastness of the American Plains – the lonely highways, flat landscapes, and expansive skies - which often mirrors Schmidt's internal emptiness. The soundtrack is understated but remarkably effective, and the slow, often silent passages contribute to the film's poignant mood and dramatic tension.

In conclusion, About Schmidt is not just about one man's life. It represents the ordinary lives of many people who are living on the sidelines, unnoticed and feeling inconsequential. This film effectively combines humor with heartbreak, making the audience laugh even as it delves into the downbeat themes. The exploration of human relationships, failures, and eventual acceptance of the uncontrollable aspects of life are the strengths of this film. And it's Nicholson's convincing portrayal of a man in existential crisis that stays with you long after the film ends, making About Schmidt a must-watch.

About Schmidt is a Drama, Comedy movie released in 2002. It has a runtime of 125 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 85.

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Where can I stream About Schmidt movie online? About Schmidt is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent About Schmidt for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.2/10
85/100
Director
Alexander Payne
Stars
Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Howard Hesseman, , Kathy Bates
Also starring Hope Davis
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