About Schmidt

About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, 2002)

Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulrony, June Squibb

blurb: A man upon retirement, embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding, only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.

As with Nebraska, Payne casts his leading role almost miraculously, getting a top-class performance from the unique Jack Nicholson. But the film as a whole is miserable - I mean in mood - and, even worse, sentimental. Now there's a word you don't get to use much with regard to Hollywood films these days. It's a sad story. And the ending is almost literally a tear-jerker.

Kathy Bates is as good (and as brave) as ever, and it's a pity June Squibb departs in the first reel - but you can't have two superb leading-role actresses in one film (by definition).

NY Times: Of all the dramatic transformations Jack Nicholson has undergone in his 44-year screen career, none is more astonishing than his embodiment of a retired, widowed insurance executive from Omaha in Alexander Payne's film About Schmidt. Plodding in a weary, stiff-legged shuffle, his shoulders bowed, his features half-frozen into the guarded, sunken expression of someone who has devoted decades of thought to actuarial calculation, his character, Warren Schmidt, is a staid Middle American everyman who finds himself adrift at the precarious age of 66. New York Times.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 9 August, 2018 | Now: 17 January, 2021