David Lynch: The Big Dream

The Straight Story

David Lynch

From its title on down, this true-life tale of a widowed 73-year-old farmer who travelled across two states on a riding mower remains the most unusual film Lynch has ever made, precisely because it is so beguilingly, movingly "normal." In his last film appearance, longtime character actor Richard Farnsworth earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as the aged Alvin Straight, who determines to visit his ailing, estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) before it's too late. Unable to obtain a driver's license due to his infirmity and impaired vision, Alvin spends his sparse savings on a John Deere and hits the road. In the course of Alvin's five-mile-an-hour odyssey across the Midwest, his encounters with everyday folk and his memories of past pains and regrets become as emotionally resonant as the purpose of the pilgrimage itself. "Lynch has made a small epic that echoes and enlarges in memory" (Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic).

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