An aging drunk revisits his past.
Directed by Alexander Payne(R)
In this wistful new road-trip movie, director Alexander Payne finally nails the conflicted tone he’s been after for years now, said Mike D’Angelo in the A.V. Club. In his acclaimed films About Schmidt and The Descendants, he too often seemed to be mocking his sad-sack characters. Here, in a story about a senile drunk on a quixotic journey, he creates “a sense of lives largely squandered that feels more genuine” and, to be honest, it left me in “a puddle of tears.” Bruce Dern gives a “beautiful,” often wordless performance as a disheveled coot who insists that he’s won $1 million in a junk-mail sweepstakes and is determined to journey 900 miles to his native Nebraska in order to collect the prize, said David Edelstein in New York magazine. Playing an adult son who’s humoring the old man, Will Forte takes on the driving duties, and the connection the two characters eventually make “is worth the price of a ticket.” Payne has humbly called this black-and-white work a minor film, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. “But it’s a big one in my book,” both “stirring and funny.”