The Straight Story


D: David Lynch

Buena Vista/Disney/Asymmetrical/Canal+/Channel 4/Ciby 2000 (Mary Sweeney, Neal Edelstein & Alain Sarde)

US/UK/France 1999

112 mins


W: Mary Sweeney & John Roach

DP: Freddie Francis

Ed: Mary Sweeney

Mus: Angelo Badalamenti

Richard Farnsworth (Alvin Straight), Sissy Spacek (Rose Straight), Harry Dean Stanton (Lyle Straight), Jane Galloway Heitz (Dorothy), Joseph Carpenter (Bud)

Disney and David Lynch is not the first collaboration you'd expect from a major Hollywood studio, but the truth is that it's a mix which provides a bittersweet dramatic fable.

Richard Farnsworth stars as Alvin Straight, an elderly WWII veteran who lives with his mentally slow daughter in Iowa.  Hearing the news that his estranged brother had suffered a stroke, Alvin makes the journey from Iowa to Wisconsin by the only transport available to him- a mobile lawnmower with a maximum speed of 5mph, hoping to make amends with his brother before it's too late.

On his 240 mile journey, he meets a selection of people who assist him in his journey or provide him with brief companionship.

David Lynch may sound like a strange choice of director for such a story, but he also has pedigree with presenting extroverted characters from idyllic small towns, getting the very best out of the main star, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

The film is also blessed with some picturesque cinematography and a great music score, as well as believable screenplay with naturalistic dialogue.


Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story
Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story