David Lynch's critically applauded road movie tells the tale of Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), a 73-year-old midwesterner who sets out on an unusual personal odyssey. Alvin lives with his mentally retarded daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek), and is struggling with his failing health. When he hears that his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke, he realises that now is the time to heal the rift between them. However, lacking a car of his own, Alvin opts to make the three-hundred mile journey from Iowa to Wisconsin on his lawnmower.
Throughout The Straight Story
, 73-year-old Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) gazes calmly at the night sky, as if the stars were reflections of his own memories. When he hears his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), with whom he hasn't spoken in years, is ailing Alvin decides to go visit him and make peace. But since Alvin's eyesight is bad and his daughter (Sissy Spacek) refuses to drive him, he sets out on the 500-mile journey from Laurens, Iowa to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin on a John Deere lawnmower. It's slow going, so there's plenty of time to stop for the night and ponder the cosmos. Along the way, he befriends a variety of nice folks, and you have to ask yourself: is this really a David Lynch movie?
It's a miracle that this wholesome film was made by a director whose work is often described as twisted and bizarre. But Lynch is too complex an artist to be labelled, and he brings charm, grace and kindness to this story based on a newspaper clipping. Moreover, The Straight Story has a serenity rarely found in movies anymore. It's a film of moments--funny, odd, quietly spiritual--and this simple tale of a man, a lawnmower and rural hospitality becomes a genuine Lynchian odyssey, unlike any film you've seen but as welcoming as a cup of lemon tea with honey. Best of all, it's a fitting tribute to the career of veteran stuntman-actor Farnsworth who, at age 79, plays Alvin Straight to sheer perfection, his face a subtle roadmap to a broad spectrum of emotional destinations. --Jeff Shannon
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.