2013 Film Reviews
by Dr. Bob Blackwood
These movie review articles appeared in the Columbia River Reader and are copyrighted by Bob Blackwood
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Picks & “Bullet to the Head” for Fun
year I try to pick the Oscar winners; I do better at that than I do at the
Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky.
Picture: “Lincoln,” though “Argo” is picking up many related awards.
Director: Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln.”
Actor: Daniel Day Lewis for title role in “Lincoln.”
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln.”
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables,” though Sally Field
from “Lincoln” is a contender.
Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” though I’m glad to see that “Skyfall” is a
Screenplay: Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” written by Mark Boal.
have always enjoyed Walter Hill’s work; he may be the greatest living action
director. Films by John Ford and
Howard Hawks must linger in his mind. His
“Bullet to the Head” (MPAA: R) with Sylvester Stallone is not his greatest
work, but it is the best action film I have seen in years.
setting is New Orleans with its decadence and violence on display.
Hill was there before with Charles Bronson and James Coburn in the midst
of the Great Depression with his first film, “Hard Times” (1975).
Hill even set the final action sequence of “Bullet to the Head” in
the old New Orleans’ powerhouse that I believe he used for a bare-knuckle
boxing sequence from “Hard Times.”
plays Bonomo, a hitman who has been double-crossed by his handler.
) The handler’s boss (Adewale
Akinnuoye-Agbaje) as a Washington insider) arranged for his
partner to be killed by a mercenary (Jason Momoa), who almost killed Bonomo too.
Momoa makes a great heavy.
Kang (from “Fast Five”), a DC detective whose partner is killed in New
Orleans as part of the same Washington-based intrigue, decides to hook up with
Bonomo. Bonomo knows the territory,
and his attractive daughter (Sarah Shahi from TV’s “Fairly Legal”) can
both remove bullets and create tattoos, skills needed in this film.
Kang shows he can act as well as react.
a wild costume party with naked ladies (wearing masks) thrown by a wealthy
crooked lawyer (Christian Slater), a confrontation with a handler, an attack by
a team of mercenaries with automatic weapons, and various fights, Bonomo and his
Korean companion exchange insults (most of them coming from Bonomo), worldviews,
and the usual male bonding dialog that we expect to hear.
This film is fun. If you want
profundity, try the films of Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini or Steven
Spielberg on a good day.
Dr. Bob Blackwood
Dominick’s “Killing Them Softly” (MPAA: R) stars Brad Pitt as Cogan in a
film based on George V. Higgins’ novel—Cogan’s
Trade. Before his fame as a
writer, Higgins worked for seven years in anti-organized-crime government
organizations, e.g. as Assistant U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.
If you saw “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” (1973), you appreciated
Higgins’ mastery of both the structure and the lingo of organized crime in the
Boston area—whether Italian or Irish hoodlums.
“Killing,” Pitt is a fixer and a shooter cleaning up a mess created by Ray
Liotta’s character, who used to run a dependable high stakes card game.
The jerk screwed that up, was robbed twice (the first time through his
own connivance), and had to be heavily punished.
James Gandolfini, a NYC hitman, was brought in to eliminate Liotta’s
character. Instead, the hitman
becomes another problem. Pitt cleans
up the mess, and comments on the world he lives in, which resembles the world of
international financiers who fleeced us all.
I liked the parallels between the film’s plot and selected real-life TV
news stories; some critics did not. Presumably they didn’t resent bailing out
the blind bankers and the mortgage shysters.
The difference in intention between gangsters and some big businessmen
Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (MPAA: PG-13) is the top
grossing film in the USA on January 3. I
enjoyed the return to Tolkien’s world of fantasy.
This is not, however, the epic fantasy of “The Lord of the Rings”
with the quest to destroy the Sauron/Hitler figure who threatened destruction to
all humans who did not obey him. Originally,
“The Hobbit” was a children’s fantasy about dwarfs, a hobbit and a wizard
with elf assistance vs. a dragon with a gold horde, orcs, goblins, etc., which
has been updated for teens. It is
fun, though I found it a bit long. I
don’t see why it is a three-parter, except for the gross, but I’ll soldier
through them all.
O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” (MPAA: R) is the best
comedy/romance I’ve seen in a long time. Bradley
Cooper, as a bi-polar egotist who comes to terms with himself, and Jennifer
Lawrence, as a woman with her own problems, eventually find each other.
Robert DeNiro, as Brad’s dad and a bookie who just can’t stop himself
from betting, gives a masterful performance.
Cooper and Lawrence deserve an Oscar bid as does DeNiro.
Beware of the first half-hour of this film; a loud bi-polar person is
hard to take. The human interaction
and eventual romantic resolution, however, make “Silver Linings Playbook” a
critic’s choice and fun too.
Dr. Bob Blackwood
1900, L. Frank Baum wrote a book entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
It was so popular, he continued to write 13 more “Oz” books.
The film that we know as “The Wizard of Oz” seems based on the first
novel, but, allegedly, an unpublished stage play by Baum gave us the basis for
the screenplay and Victor Fleming’s film, “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), that
most of us love.
Raimi is known for his early, inventive, low-budget films such as “The Evil
Dead” and “The Army of Darkness,” before he graduated to “Spider-man,”
“Spider-man 2” and “Spider-man
entitled “Oz the Great and Powerful” (MPAA: PG), is a charming film.
I enjoyed the opening black and white footage, just as I did in
Fleming’s film. It made his colorful palette of Oz much more striking.
Wizard (James Franco) is a magician/con man in a small Kansas carnival.
He blows town in a hot air balloon ahead of an angry husband; a cyclone
takes him to Oz. And Raimi revels in
the warmth of the people of Oz.
big or small, you see them as people who take pride in their work.
Raimi’s munchkins don’t dance, but, then, it is not a Bollywood
Raimi makes it all credible as the Wizard proceeds down that Yellow Brick Road.
The Wizard’s companions include Finley (Zach Braff), a small flying
monkey, not to be confused with the slobbering flying baboons of the Wicked
Witch, she of the green skin and the protruding nose. Secondly, there is the
witch in Red, Theodora (Mila Kunis), who gets close to Franco’s Wizard.
In the Emerald City, we meet Evanora (Rachel Weisz), the witch in black,
who has a taste for the Wizard too.
is a little China Girl (Joey King), about a foot high, whose broken-off legs are
repaired with the Wizard’s “magic in a bottle,” glue to you and me.
Things happen. We finally meet the witch in white, Glinda (Michelle
Williams), who likes the man the Wizard could become but doesn’t play
kissyface with him.
Remarks on Coppola’s “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III”
Jon Chu’s “G. I. Joe: Retaliation”
Coppola, son of Francis Ford Coppola, has directed his second film, “A Glimpse
Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” (MPAA: R). Roman
has been scriptwriting lately with Wes Anderson and having some notable
successes: “The Darjeeling Limited” (2007), directed by Wes Anderson, and
Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012).
film, solely written by Coppola, is under attack, but it is worthy of comment.
He attempts at making a film for adults. Note
the solid cast: Charlie Sheen as
Charles Swan, a graphic designer who is losing his woman; Bill Murray,
Charles’ accountant who is having problems with his wife; Jason Schwartzman as
his rocker friend hoping for a dynamite cover for his latest album; and Patricia
Arquette as Charles’ grown up and helpful sister with children.
Charles hasn’t grown up, unlike Guido, the central character of Fellini’s
“8 ½,” played by Marcello Mastroianni, a film very reminiscent of this one.
Both men have fantasy sequences of the women in the past and present of
their lives. Both men also have
fantasy sequences of the men they work with, trying to get things done. (In
one of Coppola’s fantasies, Bill Murray
is laughable, dressed as John Wayne from “The Searchers” about to attack an
Indian village. This village is full of half-naked lovely squaws, not John
Ford’s Comanches led by the bloodthirsty Scar.)
played his role as a mature man. He
felt pain; he felt bewildered. He understood that the women sometimes knew him
better than he knew himself, and, Fellini made you believe that they did, too.
Charlie Sheen plays it as his TV character from “Two and a Half Men.”
He always has a knowing grin on his face.
A man can’t be desperate about losing the woman he alleges to love and
drive around in late 1970’s-looking L. A. with a smirk on his face in his
vintage Caddy with Bacon decals on one side and Eggs on the other.
film fails, but it has its moments. You
can argue about why it failed. How many films are worthy of that?
Chu’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (MPAA: PG-13) is an action film, like its
predecessor, based on the Hasbro toys. The
action sequences are like ballets—well-rehearsed.
The performances are flawless. I
would just like to have a little characterization.
Dwayne Johnson is pretty close to his The Rock persona, too bad. He has
become a good actor; try “Snitch” sometime. Bruce Willis gives the standard
Bruce Willis’ action performance with only one funny line in this film.
He usually gets more than that. The other actors hit their marks every
and “The Company You Keep”: Tales from the Past with Messages for the Future
Dr. Bob Blackwood
Helgeland’s “42” (MPAA: PG-13) tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s
success in big league baseball in the post WWII era.
I never saw “The Jackie Robinson Story” (1950) because, even as a
kid, I knew it wouldn’t tell it as it is.
In this film, we see Brooklyn Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey (Harrison
Ford) needing to increase sales in his stadium; privately, he admits that is his
reason for “crossing the color barrier” in big league baseball.
Publicly, his reason and his manager Leo Durocher’s reason, as Durocher
(Christopher Meloni) lays it down to a group of racist Dodger players, is “We
need him to win the pennant.” Both
reasons were right.
when Robinson (played with great sensitivity by Chadwick Boseman) wasn’t
getting beaned by racist pitchers or being walked to first base, he was also a
terror on the base lines—driving the white pitchers crazy for stealing
bases—as well as a good hitter. Both
ways, he helped the team get the pennant.
never heard such rampant racist drivel as I heard in this film (except for
growing up in Indiana in the 1950s & 60s).
Epithets were shouted so loudly the ballpark fans could hear them too,
and some joined in. But, we saw
Robinson and his wife, Rachel (Nicole Beharie, playing a woman who was a bit
sheltered in her California childhood), stand up not only to menacing screams
but to rude behavior and threats of physical violence.
It was not hard for me to picture these things happening, but it might be
a challenge for today’s younger viewers. This
is a realistic film about a problem that we still live with today.
Redford’s “The Company You Keep” (MPAA: R)—which depicts aging 1960’s
Weather Underground activists finally facing apprehension for a bank robbery
resulting in the death of a guard 30+ years ago—also deals with home-grown
violence. The cast members in this
political thriller include four Academy Award winners—Redford, Chris Cooper,
Susan Sarandon, & Julie Christie—plus five Academy Award nominees—Nick
Nolte, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins & Terrence Howard. Shia
LaBeouf, as a newspaper reporter, leads the younger performers.
just as in his complex study of the Lincoln assassins in “The Conspirator”
(2010), shows us young people who did brutal things for different reasons. In
this film, he also shows the less than professional approach of LaBeouf’s
character, and has his character comment on it.
In addition, Redford demonstrates that even after you have offended
society, you can still live an honorable life if you are willing to admit your
mistakes to everyone involved. The characters and their problems aren’t
simple; neither is anyone’s life.
the Glorious to the Grunge: “The Great Gatsby”
Dr. Bob Blackwood
Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” has been done three times as a
motion picture in the sound era with Alan Ladd (1949), Robert Redford (1974) and
Baz Luhrmann’s “Gatsby” with Leonardo DiCaprio (2013).
The Ladd film didn’t go over well.
Redford’s performance and the color cinematography seemed to be the
only saving grace of that “Gatsby.”
“Gatsby,” except for a coterie of critics who seem to have some personal
animosity for Luhrmann, is by far the best.
Apparently some critics did not approve of a 3-D big budget film of
“Gatsby” with all the latest special effects and a terrific soundtrack
thanks to Jay-Z, Bryan Ferry and others. Perhaps
those critics thought the title of the book should have been, “The Middle
cast is exceptionally well chosen. Tobey
Maguire as Fitzgerald’s narrator, Nick Carraway, shows the vulnerability of
Fitzgerald’s character as well as his acute perception of how the American
class structure works. Carey
Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan radiates a passive sexuality and masks her innate
selfishness until the very end, making half of the men in the audience fall in
love with her. Joel Edgerton as Tom
Buchanan--the brutal and conniving husband of Daisy and squire of who knows how
many women--gives a human dimension to what could have been a two-dimensional
is the best Gatsby yet, a man who does not know what it is to have a friend
until he meets Nick. This Gatsby
really knows very little about women on his own social level, probably because
he didn’t come from his current social level. He spent his time either
fighting in WWI or hustling bucks in the ruthless world of Prohibition Era New
York City. Regardless of some
critics, the film is doing well at the box office.
Nichols, director of “Shotgun Stories” and “Take Shelter,” has turned
out a good old Huckleberry Finnish Mississippi River story in “Mud” with
Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. McConaughey
(Mud) is a down-on-his-luck fellow, running from the law.
He agrees to swap a .45 automatic (but not the bullets) if two teenage
boys—Tye Sheridan (Ellis) and Jacob Lofland (Neckbone)—will help him rebuild
an old cabin cruiser he has found on an island in the big river.
if you have never known small-town farmers’ sons, you might be surprised at
how good some of them are in scrounging for parts to repair motorcycles, cars
and even good-sized boats. Those
young men have to make their own “toys”; no one is going to lay serious
money on them.
boys do their job. We learn that Mud
got in trouble with the law by killing the vicious beau of his on-and-off girl
friend, Juniper, played by Reese Witherspoon.
Mud is also facing revenge from the beau’s wealthy family, led by Joe
Don Baker (King). Mud’s only
friend in the world is a retired “assassin” from a government agency, played
by Sam Shepard. Shepard always gives
a studied performance. The film is
both heart-warming and, at the end, quite rousing.
Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and Luc Besson’s “The
Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” (MPAA: PG-13) stars Cate Blanchett.
Her character, Jasmine, strongly resembles Blanche DuBois, the
broken-apart heroine of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.
Jasmine’s husband, (Alec Baldwin) is a successful billionaire swindler,
riding the tide until it becomes a tsunami.
Jasmine is “broke,” she procures a first class ticket to San Francisco and
takes her designer wardrobe to her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins)
second-floor apartment. Ginger and
her boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale) are decidedly working class, as was her
ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay). Unfortunately,
Ginger’s ex went broke after Ginger begged Jasmine to let her in on a good
accurately badmouths Ginger’s friends and lifestyle while becoming the most
incompetent dental assistant in San Francisco, until that job goes south.
At a San Francisco cocktail party, however, Jasmine picks up a wealthy
diplomat (Peter Sarsgaard) who becomes her lover and, too soon for most
diplomats, a fiancé. All the while,
we are laughing or feeling nervous at the ease with which Jasmine weaves a web
of lies and half-truths around her. Meanwhile,
we realize she is an alcoholic, taking too many drugs, and is becoming
increasing desperate. Eventually,
one of those coincidences, that writer’s often use as a shortcut, leads to the
end of her proposed marriage and the beginning of....
comedy and drama will interest most folks and probably alienate almost as many.
Don’t miss it or Blanchett’s gown at the Oscars.
Besson is a French writer, producer, director.
He wrote and directed “La Femme Nikita,”
“Léon: The Professional,”“The Fifth Element,” and his latest,
“The Family” (MPAA: R) with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer.
has exhibited a real gift for black comedy.
It is unrelenting in “The Family.”
Everything is sacrificed—subtlety, character development, logic,
etc.—for the sake of showing a family (former members of an Italian-American
crime family)—whose father (DeNiro), mother (Pfeiffer), daughter (Dianna Agron)
and teenage son (John D’Leo) settle all disputes the mob way via bodily harm
or death. To increase the fun, the
family is in the Witness Protection Program; Tommy Lee Jones plays the overseer.
mayhem has caused them to be moved to France.
The mob has a $20 million price on the father’s head.
That’s too much money for the mob to pay.
And if the WPP is shipping mobsters off to France, God help them when a
House Committee hears about it, let alone the French government.
War Z” and “This Is the End”: Is That All There Is?
Dr. Bob Blackwood
just finished an interesting book, Fantasy Film Post 911 by Frances
Pheasant-Kelly. The author maintains that the 9/11 attack has led to a dark
emphasis in fantasy films in the 21st Century.
Now, it could be argued that Marc Forster’s “World War Z” (MPAA:
PG-13) is a science fiction film, but since in conversation it is always
regarded as a horror film, I think the zombie fantasy trumps science fiction
Pitt, pictured as a loving family man with Mireille Enos as the mother of his
children, is caught in an early zombie attack in Philadelphia.
Before you can say, “Holy Man of Steel” or “faster than a speeding
bullet,” every American city is swarming with zombies.
This speed of contagion is definitely fantasy, particularly if you have
read Max Brooks’ novel, which is a remarkably interesting study of how each
culture throughout the globe might deal with a major epidemic of this nature.
film is fast-moving as Pitt searches the globe for the source of the epidemic.
The airplane sequence in “Z” will be remembered; in fact it reminded
me of a flight I had over the continental USA. Though I was enjoying the
suspense in “World War Z,” I fear the hardcore horror fans will demand more
gore. I never hated my parents or my
neighbors enough to want strangers to be chomping on their bones in their living
rooms, but whatever turns you on seems to be the rule with some folks.
prefer films with sexy women in gorgeous clothes, a brave sheriff on a dusty
street, or clever comedies such as “The Ugly Truth” with Katherine Heigl and
Gerard Butler. If you like
Shakespearean comedies, you might enjoy Joss Whedon’s black-and white-“Much
Ado About Nothing” (MPAA: PG-13). The lines are delivered beautifully.
you see “World War Z”? If you
like an action film, sure. As it
made about $66 million on its opening week-end in the USA, you may be seeing a
did not enjoy Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s “This Is the End” (MPAA: R),
the portrayal of a big party at James Franco’s home where all of the
actors—Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and
others—play themselves. Yes, they
are Hollywood actors having a “high” old time with liquor, drugs, sex, the
usual…. After awhile, I thought,
“Seth, this is the longest bad ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, ever.”
Trapped, hungry and thirsty in Franco’s home, the English actress Emma
Watson robs them. That, I liked.
Then, the Apocalypse comes, and some of the jerks go to heaven.
Not in my world.
Dr. Bob Blackwood
really enjoyed the first “RED” film, directed by Robert Schwentke in 2010.
It is an action comedy, a mixed genre that we are seeing often these
days. This year, Dean Parisot’s
“RED 2” (MPAA: PG-13) has almost the same cast as the first film—Bruce
Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren now including Anthony
Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and the dynamic Byung-hun Lee (who insures an even
larger Asian ticket-sale).
the premise? An atomic device has been smuggled into Moscow during the Cold War.
Now, our gang of experienced agents has to make the bomb go away.
Why them and not someone else? Don’t
ask; you’ll spoil the fun. They
kid each other; they shoot ‘em up. They
look good. The jokes elicit laughter
from the audience. The cast are all
good actors, some great ones. We are
lucky to see them all in the same film. It moves fast; we’re happy.
action comedy with a fantasy twist, Robert Schwentke’s “R. I. P. D.” (Rest
In Peace Department), is by the director of the first “RED.” It stars Ryan
Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as two more or less good cops who have come back from
the dead to prevent the evil dead from taking control of the planet Earth and
making it even worse than it is today.
is good about this film is the clever way the two starring actors alternate
between being the straight man and the comic.
Twenty-first Century Reynolds knows the territory; Nineteenth Century
lawman Jeff Bridges knows people. Kevin
Bacon is the heavy.
the way, Mary-Louise Parker runs the R. I. P. D. force and looks hotter than she
does in “RED 2.” The film
generates laughter; some folks didn’t like the plot or the pace.
So it goes.
Jordan’s “Byzantium” (MPAA: R) is a vampire tale for adults, not for the
“Twilight” crowd. The main
characters are a sexy mother vampire (Gemma Arterton) and her charming, if
troubled, 16-year-old vampire daughter played by Saoirse Ronan.
You’ll recognize Jonny Lee Miller as TV’s Sherlock Holmes in “Elementary,”
though in this film he is definitely the heavy.
The acting is superb.
Neil Jordan directed “The Crying Game” and “Michael Collins.” He knows how to shoot and direct a film. The script’s concerns—which are a commentary on the British class system, how it treats working class women and their responses to it—are of value. I think I would have enjoyed the film more if it focused on those concerns in a totally contemporary setting. As a vampire film, I wish it had more action and fewer twists and turns of the plot.
Three Successful Films: “American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,”
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
O. Russell’s “American Hustle” (MPAA: R) took a true story as its base
(the “Abscam” Scandal) and fictionalized it a bit. The cast—Christian Bale
as an accomplished confidence man, Amy Adams as his slick partner, Bradley
Cooper as the FBI agent who has his vulnerabilities, and Jennifer Lawrence as
the wife of Bale’s character and a big-mouthed nut—ran with it.
This is a comedy. Don’t get
me wrong; there are not a lot of laughs. I
spent most of my time thinking, “This must be based on the truth.
No one else could be so dumb with so much money at stake.”
And then I saw “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” (MPAA: R), is based on the real-life
autobiography of Jordan Belfort, who was a Wall Street broker/hustler determined
to milk his clients dry. Leonardo
DiCaprio’s Belfort turns from college graduate to sleazebag thanks, in part,
to Matthew McConaughey as a very successful and seemingly reputable Wall Street
stockbroker, who’s private & business lives were an unhealthy mixture of
alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, illicit sex and braggadocio. Belfort’s
willing partner, charmingly played by Jonah Hill, joined the con-game more than
willingly, though he seemed to lack any foresight.
this film was based fairly closely to the outlines of the Belfort story,
allegedly a great deal of the dialog—such as McConaughey’s outrageous speech
to DiCaprio’s character—was improvised by some of the actors.
Scorsese has great rapport with his actors, and they have great respect
for him. For example, this is
DiCaprio’s fifth film with Scorsese and his best.
the end of this film, the overt sexuality and the characters’ self-destructive
abuse of drugs may shock you. Allegedly,
“Wolf” was able to go as far as it did because it was independently
financed, not by any major studio; the Hollywood corporate mentality is
Robbie, as the wife of Belfort, is a stunning leading lady whose beauty and
whose talents were effectively displayed by Scorsese in this film.
At the end of Belfort’s marriage, she stands up to her husband who has
lied to her and betrayed her repeatedly. It
is a fierce sequence, one that you won’t forget.
Both actors made their characters realistic, frightening, and, in a way,
pathetic. I believe you will be
seeing more of this Australian woman in the years to come.
Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (MPAA: PG) went beyond
James Thurber’s charming short story. At
the beginning of the film, we do see Mitty (Ben Stiller), who supervises all the
negatives from the “Life Magazine” photographers, fantasizing about his
boring life and making an attempt to make a connection with an attractive woman
(Kristen Wiig) at his office, just as “Life” is going out of the weekly
business. We occasionally still see
him “zoning out” a la Thurber.
when Mitty is pushed by his new boss (Adam Scott), he responds in a surprising
and crowd-pleasing way. My screening
ended with applause from a usually tough Albuquerque audience.
Sean Penn, as an eccentric photographer, and Shirley MacLaine, as
Mitty’s wise mother, both give warm and wonderful performances.
If you want harsh reality, try the other two films reviewed here.