This is another movie with an outstanding performance by an actor whose peak years were in the 1970s and 1980s. Bruce Dern, also now 77, excels in this touching film about a man, Woody, who is losing his mind and is convinced that he has won a million dollars, although the letter he receives is clearly just posing the possibility of a prize. Dern has been widely hailed for his acting and won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar. June Squibb, who plays his spiky and uninhibited wife, was also Oscar nominated.
It was filmed, beautifully, in black and white and is something of a road movie, with the main character’s son being to some extent forced, by Woody’s behaviour, to go on a journey with him, with benefits for both. The director, Alexander Payne, is something of an expert on road movies, having made the equally enjoyable, but very different, Sideways and About Schmidt. As well as exploring the difficulties, and comedy, in father-son relationships, the film also takes in some very grasping extended family members and ‘friends’ along the way. Payne comes from the Mid-West and understands the country and the people and films it and them with affection and truthfulness.
Venue: William Loveless Hall