An Unfinished Life (2005)

Dir. Lasse Halstrom
Starring: Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Morgan Freeman, etc.

Don doesn’t remember recommending this to me, but I remember him saying he thought this was a good film worth checking out. It is a decent film, and while I wouldn’t tell other idiots to rush out to see this, I know most of you will at least mildly like this. If you like the actors and you’re looking for dvd to rent, this is not a bad choice.

This is an example of a good film that could also play on and appeal to fans of Lifetime network. A single parent mom (Lopez) and her daughter leave an abusive relationship. With nowhere to turn, she takes her daughter to her father-in-law—a small rancher who still holds a grudge against her for a driving accident that lead to the death of his son, her husband. There is also a side story involving Morgan Freeman’s character, a friend and worker of Redford’s, who was mauled by a bear.

The story is well-worn and pretty bland—with some predictable situations (e.g. granddaughter and grandfather developing a relationship)—but there are several things I liked about the film. First, I liked the filmmakers’ treatment of a well-worn material. They don’t do anything to offend the audience’s intelligence, avoiding being too cute or melodramatic.

The second thing I liked was the performances of Redford and Freeman, which is a bit odd. I say this because while Freeman may be the best buddy/sidekick of all-time, and Redford’s had some nice buddy roles himself, their chemistry and acting are not great in this–perhaps I’m tired of seeing them in these roles–but it is good enough.

Finally, there is some decent use of a bear metaphor, which is borderline sophomoric, but, ultimately acceptable for me.

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