The Straight Story

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 75 out of 84
  2. Negative: 6 out of 84

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User Reviews

  1. Jul 10, 2016
    7
    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, 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 aIt 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. Expand
  2. BrentS.
    Mar 20, 2004
    3
    Boring, boring and boring. It gets a 3 only because it was clean.
  3. WillemK.
    Jun 3, 2002
    10
    As a big Lynch fan, I was disappointed at first when I heard that it would be a Dinsey film. But from the first minute of The Straight Story I was in love with it's rythem, it's music and of course, Mr Farnworth. My number 1 for 2001!
  4. SergioT.
    Sep 5, 2002
    10
    I'm still speechless...I'm a real fan of Mr. Lynch, and he hasn't disappointed me...¡Truly a masterpiece, and a must-see for all family!
  5. BobB.
    Feb 9, 2001
    10
    First Rate!
  6. KumikoS.
    Mar 10, 2003
    10
    Perfect!! Just perfect movie ever! Alvin's last word made me cry..
  7. AnthonyB.
    Apr 12, 2003
    0
    Unquestionably the worst, most boring, badly edited, totally lacking in any narrative power and failing even to jerk a mildly inebriated tear film I have ever seen. I wonder, as may many other non-illiterate film-goers, why it was made at all.
  8. VictorB.
    Apr 12, 2005
    10
    Just a wonderful thing.
  9. JoostE.
    Oct 13, 2002
    10
    Stubborn lovely and more....
  10. Marc-o
    Nov 4, 2003
    10
    David Lynch's direction is on fine form about as close to a perfect movie experience that one can get, moving without ever being over sentimental and helped along by one of the best scores i have heard in a very long time. This however is not the end of the film's merits the wonderful Richard Farnsworth deserves most of the praise never have i identified so much with a character David Lynch's direction is on fine form about as close to a perfect movie experience that one can get, moving without ever being over sentimental and helped along by one of the best scores i have heard in a very long time. This however is not the end of the film's merits the wonderful Richard Farnsworth deserves most of the praise never have i identified so much with a character in a movie from such a subtle yet effective performance. Simply if you haven't seen this then you have missed a true modern classic. Expand
  11. MichelleM.
    Jul 7, 2003
    0
    Awful, awful, awful. Self-indulgently edited with a torturous, painfully slow pace ? it is difficult to find a single redeeming feature to this film. It would have been kinder not to have made it.
  12. YoonC.
    Sep 21, 2003
    9
    An old man chugging along arduously on a lawnmower to visit his ailing brother is a story of self-realization, self-reflection, and redemption. The farm landscape is deceptively idyllic as a counterpoint to the remorseful and tormented soul of the protagonist. This contrast between the horizontal landscape--suggestive of freedom and emptiness--the vertical psychological interior--hidden An old man chugging along arduously on a lawnmower to visit his ailing brother is a story of self-realization, self-reflection, and redemption. The farm landscape is deceptively idyllic as a counterpoint to the remorseful and tormented soul of the protagonist. This contrast between the horizontal landscape--suggestive of freedom and emptiness--the vertical psychological interior--hidden and dark--makes it, beneath the G-rated surface, as unsettling as anything Lynch has ever made. Expand
  13. BurnieV
    Jul 5, 2007
    0
    I never dreamt there were bad movies without Steven Seagal, it was a horror to sit through.
  14. SandyV.
    Sep 7, 2007
    10
    no crime,violence,sex. I thought this a very emotional and caring movie.He touched the lives of many people.Anyone rating this movie a 10 are people who care about others and themselves.
  15. JerryC
    Jul 29, 2009
    10
    It is a work without flaw. It celebrates ordinary people.
  16. D.W
    Aug 16, 2009
    10
    The only film in the history of American cinema that has a fully realized dualistic plot...the clues in this film...as 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 The only film in the history of American cinema that has a fully realized dualistic plot...the clues in this film...as 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 happened...pay 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 canon... Old Man On Tractor= God Camera Pans Away= Dignity Of Private Confession Immaculate Repair= Sins Forgiven Simply put; the fact this movie was interpreted by dimwitted reviewers as merely a touching G-rated family film of reunion, is a travesty. Lynch unfurls an meticulously crafted tail of symbolism-via-pastoralia...a profound work exhaulting the finest nuances of cinematic understatement. What we have here, is a A+ work of subtle genius, masquerading directly under the noses of self-appointed aficianados, as a B+ family film. Do not be fooled by the unobservant; The Straight Story is on the shortlist for the greatest films ever made....and it's understated avenue of towards that end, one could argue its esoteric-yet-attainable route to it may be the most breathtaking on that shortlist. and finally, in my opinion the finest scene in the Lynch canon. Expand
  17. SlavoH.
    Nov 24, 2002
    10
    I am speechless.
  18. MichaelF.
    Mar 17, 2002
    10
    This is one hell of a movie. Its propably Lynch's best. I am a HUGE Lynch fan I was truly impressed, Bravo Mr. Lynch! Great for the whole family.
  19. PatC.
    Oct 31, 2003
    10
    This is a horrible movie in terms of reaching out to generally shared experiences and attitudes, so most viewers will not have the context within which to process this movie. For those that do, it is perfect. The power and glory of living lies in minimal expectations, and those expectations are actualized here.
  20. TylerG.
    Feb 15, 2003
    10
    Glad to see this one has been appreciated. The soundtrack is wonderful. One of the best road movies I would wager.
  21. ThomasS.
    Mar 14, 2003
    10
    A G-rated masterpiece...Not since Schindler's List have I felt the way I did after viewing this film.
  22. DavidW.
    Jan 24, 2005
    10
    Did anyone notice the similarity between the girl running away and The Wizard of Oz opening with Dorothy running away? 1999 was a good year, and I'd put this number 5 behind Election, Being John Malkovich, American Beauty, Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia.
  23. WW.
    Oct 29, 2005
    10
    I grew up just a few miles from Mount Zion, and this movie takes me back home. It is a real portrayal of the area. People who didn't like this movie just don't get it.
  24. RC.
    Jul 26, 2005
    10
    I used to work at a video store and often tried to convince people to try this movie. It's a hard sell when you try to describe it, but once you see it, you realize it is wonderful.
  25. May 8, 2011
    10
    How can a movie where nothing much happens be so amazing. It has the allure of a great book read on a winters evening. Settle down, turn off the phone and watch a nice story been told in pictures.
  26. Mar 25, 2012
    9
    The Straight Story is so relaxing, poetic, and beautiful in its approach that all people are decent and that the journey is all part of the final destination.
  27. Oct 15, 2012
    10
    WHat a great film The Straight story is! Briliant!! I've never watched a film so moving yet so subtle. The acting was amazing and so was the simple yet very deep story.
  28. Mar 23, 2015
    10
    A satisfyingly fine movie which is a good example of drama. There is nothing wrong nor special about it, you may sit down and enjoy a humble well-made movie.
  29. Mar 27, 2016
    9
    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 we might see it again depending on the taste of the people.
  30. May 30, 2016
    10
    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.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 film...as 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 happened...pay 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.
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Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 100
    Its simplicity belies an emotional complexity that will linger in your mind like a gentle dream.
  2. If there is any justice in the world, Farnsworth will be remembered at Oscar time.
  3. 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."