The Straight Story


Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Its simplicity belies an emotional complexity that will linger in your mind like a gentle dream.
  2. All the actors are good, but it's Farnsworth's brilliantly simple performance that brings The Straight Story so close to greatness.
  3. A great, haunting film; it affects us in ways we're not used is capable of both lifting our hearts and chilling us to the bone.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Farnsworth's embodiment of old American values, with their combination of delicacy, reserve, and stand-alone independence, is a one-of-a-kind treasure.
  5. The most atmospheric thing in the movie is Farnsworth's face.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The best news the G rating has had since the ratings system was instituted in 1968.
  7. A momentously, shockingly moving fit of shape-shifting by a filmmaker grown tired of the macabre.
  8. A beautiful, appropriately loping little gem about growing older, daring to take risks and follow your heart. That probably sounds corny, and The Straight Story is.
  9. 100
    The first time I saw The Straight Story, I focused on the foreground and liked it. The second time I focused on the background, too, and loved it.
  10. 100
    The Straight Story truly is one from the heart, and it is wonderful.
  11. Lynch's first movie since ''Blue Velvet'' that truly envelops you in its spell. It's a piece of celestial Americana -- his journey to the light side of the moon.
  12. 90
    Clear-eyed and open-hearted, The Straight Story (which is based on reality) tells a simple tale, and it does so with a rare, blessed simplicity.
  13. Rolling Stone
    Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Lynch takes us on a journey of shattering understatement -- a remarkable accomplishment.
  14. Switching gears radically, bravely defying conventional wisdom about what it takes to excite moviegoers, Lynch presents the flip side of "Blue Velvet" and turns it into a supremely improbable triumph.
  15. Cuts a path directly to the heart.
  16. If there is any justice in the world, Farnsworth will be remembered at Oscar time.
  17. 88
    Lynch's first G-rated feature, turns out to be one of the year's best films...a wonderful surprise.
  18. I loved it...Without trying very hard, Farnsworth commands a unique and immensely appealing screen presence that could be called "a compilation of all the great western heroes of the movie past."
  19. The wonderful Richard Farnsworth plays the lead, and he was clearly born for the part...a highly affecting and suggestive spiritual odyssey.
  20. 80
    Richard Farnsworth shines as Alvin Straight, a role, one gets the feeling, that he has been preparing for all his life.
  21. Reviewed by: Emmanuel Levy
    Lynch has directed his most satisfyingly disciplined movie.
  22. 80
    And now in The Straight Story, no director has been so buzzingly alert to the emotional lives of those people or to the beauty of the world they inhabit as David Lynch.
  23. 80
    Indeed heartwarming, though not simplemindedly so.
  24. 80
    Oddly enough, this uncharacteristic offering from a director whose name instantly evokes a very particular kind of film -- call it postmodern American gothic -- is also one of his best.
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Alvin's tragic memories give perspective to the triumph of his trek, even as Farnsworth's weathered brilliance makes this movie a G as in gem.
  26. 79
    Lynch's faith in the kindness of human nature has been renewed, yet thankfully he's never maudlin. Instead, he wins over our emotions with the film's understated beauty.
  27. As slow-moving as the voyage it portrays,...a surprisingly complex view of contemporary life beneath its good-natured surface.
  28. 75
    An engaging yarn and a moving character study, but it's also a sweet, sad glimpse of everyone's future.
  29. 70
    Inspirational...unfolds gently with an evenness and rural patience.
  30. 70
    Sunny as The Straight Story appears, Lynch is still defamiliarizing the normal.
  31. Too mannered and weird around the edges to be convincing.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 4 out of 30
  1. Jul 10, 2016
    It is hard to believe that David Lynch actually directed this one. Oddly enough though, it does have the look and feel of a Lynch film, evenIt is hard to believe that David Lynch actually directed this one. Oddly enough though, it does have the look and feel of a Lynch film, even if it not as odd and flat out disturbing as his films typically are. Decidedly American, The Straight Story is a sweet and sentimental tale of a man who travels 240 miles on a lawn mower to visit his brother who is suffering from a stroke. With a great performance from Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story is moving and incredibly entertaining, especially as the man visits a nice collection of characters whilst traveling. The cinematography is phenomenal, as are the mise en scene and score. The only problems I have with The Straight Story are the occasionally too slow pacing that bores more than entertains and, even worse, Sissy Spacek. I get that her character has a mental disability, but her performance is awful anyways. She is typically bad, but she outdid herself here with a career-worst performance. Wow is she awful. I could never understand what she said, regardless of her speech impediment. Annoying stuff. Overall, The Straight Story is a good and truly unique film from David Lynch that finds entertainment and beauty in such a simple premise. Full Review »
  2. May 30, 2016
    David Lynch's most deviating film of his regular type of movie making is called ''The Straight Story'' and wow what a moving, gorgeous,David Lynch's most deviating film of his regular type of movie making is called ''The Straight Story'' and wow what a moving, gorgeous, extraordinary, emotional, American odyssey this one is. Because the film was directed by David Lynch, who usually deals in the bizarre, we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop--for Alvin's odyssey to intersect with the Twilight Zone. But it never does.
    ''The Straight Story'' is astonishing in how simplistic, yet deep it is. Everything about Farnsworth's performance is brilliantly simple, just an old american trying to visit his brother before it's too late, and because he's not allowed to drive, he decides to drive cross country on a lawn-mower with a max speed of 5 miles an hour. This seems like a melodramatic plot to a cheesy movie, but keep in mind, this is based on a true story, and it handles the material perfectly.
    Following that notion is how simple but incredibly heartfelt the screenplay is, with simple characters saying things like: ''What is the number for 9-1-1?!'' or ''What do you need that grabber for Alvie?, Alvie answers: Grabbing'. '' but this screenplay also includes some philosophical, deep and meaningful dialogue like when Alvie tells a story to another war veteran about the war, or a little game he used to play with his children (i dont want to spoil anything, but you'll know what i mean when you'll watch it) and there are many more scenes like that.
    ''The Straight Story'' is a straight-forward movie that's simple and easy to follow, unlike previous Lynch movies, but Lynch does make this story his own by using imagery and metaphors while shooting this movie. For example the people Alvin talks to, the first he talks to is a young runaway and he tells a story about how many kids he's had and how many grandkids, then he talks to a bunch of adolescents, then to an old war veteran in a bar, then to a pastor in a cemetery, all before his journey ends and visits his brother Lyle. Also the landscapes he drives through start of by being green, full of life, and sunny. But slowly digress into darker imagery, a girl hitting a deer before his eyes, him almost crashing down a hill because of the weakness of his lawnmower, and talking to a pastor on a cemetery. (You see/get the idea right) But the plot is so simple, yet so brilliant and dualistic, the clues in this to why Alvin Straight is REALLY going to see on his brother on his tractor, are delivered with a degree of subtle high-art that even most reviewers of this film missed, but to give a hint... Runaway Girl (aka Dorothy from Oz invoking "no place like home" to start the journey) = Human Birth
    Deer-strike Lady = Human Ambition (with the leering deer symbolizing that which is lost in its wake)
    Tractor Brakes/House On Fire= Lynch's explanation of what REALLY VERY close attention to that scene.
    The Handymen Dialogue= Human Honesty (as a result of the above)
    Bartender Scene= Human Accomplishment
    Graveyard Scene= Impending Mortality
    Dead Engine Short Of Destination= Deserved Punishment (notice how Alvin accepts this knowing he has earned this fate) and finally, I feel the greatest moment in the Lynch film...
    Old Man On Tractor= God Camera Pans Away= Dignity Of Private Confession Immaculate Repair= Sins Forgiven

    The Straight Story is a G-Rated masterpiece.

    (Tip: before viewing, bring a box of tissues because, man, this film will tear you up. Multiple times. e.g The ending with his brother... yes... the bar scene with the two aged characters talking about the war... yes... Rosie's story of losing her kids... yes... Really, anytime Straight talked about his life or extended his thanks for someone's courtesy... yes, it had me crying)

    All in all ''The Straight Story'' is an absolutely beautiful film, and a hidden gem in Lynch's filmography overshadowed by his magnum opus'.
    ''The Straight Story'' is anoverlooked and forgotten masterpiece.
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 27, 2016
    The Straight Story just continues to move straight without any flaws getting in its way. You'll love this straight-to-the-eye story and weThe Straight Story just continues to move straight without any flaws getting in its way. You'll love this straight-to-the-eye story and we might see it again depending on the taste of the people. Full Review »