Whoever knew Jack could be so damn depressing of an old man.
When insurance actuary Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) retires and his wife dies, he looks for life’s meaning on a road trip to his daughter’s (Hope Davis) upcoming wedding to a waterbed salesman (Dermot Mulroney). But Schmidt can’t seem to get anything right. En route to the wedding, he shares his life through letters with a Tanzanian boy he’s sponsoring for 73 cents a day — and soon, Schmidt discovers renewed purpose.
I remember when I first saw this when I was very young with my grand father, and I didn’t quite understand it. But now that I have grown older I understand it all, and I’m so glad.
This film is mostly all about being old, and accepting your life that you have made for yourself. Sure, it doesn’t seem like such a different idea of themes but the way this film shows it makes it so fresh. Honestly, there are plenty of scenes where I almost caught myself just choking up. There is a great deal of comedy in this movie, but also a wonderful amount of tear-jerking drama as well. Though I’m not a retired old man, I still felt like I could connect to what Schmidt was saying, and it made me feel even more upset, but upset in a good way.
The direction from Alexander Payne is really good here cause he doesn’t label out how we should respond to the actions of Schmidt. Things happen and we are supposed to think about it rather than given this mood of how to think about it. The writing is also very realistic, in how it shows the satirical look at things, with a very dark sense of humor, which gives bigger laughs throughout the whole film.
The one real reason why this film works is because of all the characters that are involved. The film does get a bit slow at points which does take away some interest, but it works in favor. I felt so in love with this character and I knew him inside and out by the end of the film. Nicholson is just so perfect in this role and totally just amerces himself into this person, and although it is one of his most serious roles to date he still makes you laugh with some of his lines. Kathy Bates who plays the other mother-in-law, is so funny and witty, and she does something of how she can just turn her charm on and off without her character even acting like it happened.
The ending in this film is what seals the deal for me. I won’t give anything away but once you see it, it will make you think about your life, and what have you done for others to make a difference.
Consensus: About Schmidt is a bit slow, but features one of the best performances from Nicholson, great realistic writing, and some funny moments balanced with some serious tear-jerking scenes that will make you think all about life in general.