View Full Version : Tell me why?

02-22-2003, 06:34 PM
"Oh wow.......my mouth is open...."

That was one thing I recal thinking while watching the last scenes of About Schmidt. Schmidt - he just isnīt Nicholson anymore - puzzled and caught me from the beginning. The movie was slow, but well acted and not the least boring.

But at this point, the point where Warren is about to say some words at the wedding of his daughter, were really acted out well! The moment where he starts to mumble: "What I want to say...what I would really like to say is.." was pulling up the tension in my head: is he going to say what he thinks? No, he wonīt, I thought, he just wonīt. He canīt, heīs an old man. The result was something that made me respect very much the choices of the director - it made the film altogether more believable.

About Schmidt made me almost weep at the end, something that doesnīt happen very often to me (I didnīt cry in the end, too bad). Can somebody tell me why? Is it my fear of getting as sad as Warren? Is it because I am intrigued by his mistakes and misfortunes in life? Or is it just a simple thing called feeling sorry for him?

Please tell me what you thought. I donīt think this is a genius movie, but it somehow got to me a little at the end and I am altogether very pleased with the writerīs, Nicholsonīs and the directorīs choices to make a solid movie about getting old.

oscar jubis
03-03-2003, 11:08 PM
I cannot tell you why A.S. almost but not quite made YOU cry, mon ami. Like you, I am very pleased with this solid-not-genius film. Your measured response is commendable. I found many posts here either hysterically supportive(Mark) or gleefully contemptuous(Dave, Chris). These are folks whose opinion I respect. I could discuss the assets and flaws but I think you want to talk about emotional response. I was quite moved by the plight of a dependent man who'd probably assumed he'd go first, suddenly having to bury his wife and do without her. I have a built-in repressive mechanism against crying in public. I don't cry at funerals, for instance. The last time I cried in a theatre, Jews were carrying small rocks and walking towards Schindler's tomb. I quickly regained control. We'll have to see how I react when I watch A.S. at home. By the way, the speech-at-the-wedding scene was also a favorite of mine.
When a movie almost makes you cry, is it indicative of the film being effective, being able to make you care deeply? Or is it indicative of the film being manipulative, sentimental, simplistic? When is it one or the other?

03-04-2003, 04:55 PM
Hheh, indeed :) thanks for the reply

Perfume V
03-05-2003, 10:09 AM
I found it very difficult to tell whether About Schmidt cheered me up or brought me down. I don't think that final shot is ironic, as some critics have suggested, but it represents a genuine moment where Schmidt is brought out of his solipsism. For all he failed to change the world as he saw it, his actions did have an influence on someone oout there.

The reason why I think the film was so effective was not so much because of a fear of aging - I'm 20 in May, so retirement isn't somethign I have much of an opinion on. It's about wanting to matter. One of the most touching and believable scenes for me was the opening one where Schmidt watched the last seconds of his working life tick away, then gathered up his papers and left. At any momentous event in my life - birthdays, first day at a new school, bereavement - I've always felt this quiet, sad part of me wondering why this doesn't feel as important as I'm always told it should. As culture becomes faster and more homogenized, more and more of us want to be important and want to make a difference, yet fewer and fewer of us seem to be able to do it.

03-05-2003, 12:33 PM
I think you're quite right there, Perfume V. The thing our generation also sometimes tends to forget is that we are constantly being told that being famous is what life is all about. But we're not, and we're slowly learning that (Fight Club ;) Of course, that's not at all what Schmidt is about, but he does feel his childhood hopes demolished into almost nothing. Therefor, he has regrets.

Wanting to matter is very common, and almost everybody wants to be important in his or her life - only at the end of it, you may realise you not have been so lucky at all. It think that's precisely what hit me in the movie. Perhaps it is in that regard best to die early, so you don't see your 'failure'. :P
Nahh, that's too pessimistic a view on life. But I think a lot of people see most dreams go to waste. Old age is rarely somehting to look forward to.