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Warren Schmidt has arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time. To begin with, he is retiring from a lifetime of service as an actuary for Woodmen of the World Insurance Company, and he feels utterly adrift. Furthermore, his only daughter Jeannie is about to marry a boob. And his wife Helen dies suddenly after 42 years of marriage.
Drama - It's a very slow story of a man who has just retired and finds
himself wondering about his worth in life. The story shows him
traveling around meeting various people. Not much happens and it's
not especially interesting. I would say most average moviegoers will
find it to be too slow and boring.
PROFANITY: 6 GD's, 3 F-words. Just a few others. SEX/NUDITY: Sexual talk that's somewhat graphic and some female nudity. VIOLENCE: None DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Some social drinking. ACTION: None COMEDY: Quite a few mild moments of humor.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Review Excellent "And by the time the incomparable Bates jumps beside
Nicholson into her hot tub, we realize that this brave and hilarious scene is
destined to win awards for one of the best films of the year.''
James Berardinelli, Internet Critic
Review Good "The catharsis at the end hits the right note, giving the
viewer a sense of closure without betraying the character or cheapening what has
gone before. On balance, I recommend the movie both for Nicholson's performance
and for the opportunity to spend some time with the kind of man that we often
meet in real life, but rarely see on screen.''
TV Guide OnlineFull
Review Very Good "Typical of earlier Payne and Taylor collaborations
CITIZEN RUTH (1996) and ELECTION (1999), the writing is sharp and often blithely
cynical, though not above using a shooting star to prompt a lump in the throat.
The tone, however, is at times dangerously uncertain.''
Review Very Good "About Schmidt allows Nicholson yet another
opportunity to astonish us with the things he knows about acting in front of a
camera. At 66, Nicholson still seems at times like the youngest, friskiest smart
aleck wandering the movie pantheon. But, as with jazz musicians who have
survived the excesses and perils of youth, it's what Nicholson withholds rather
than what he discloses that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats."
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Sorry, this limited release movie isn't opening at a theater that allows us to collect opinions so no moviegoer opinions will be available.
Cinema Review Prediction: (before moviegoer opinions are collected)
Boooring is what I predict most average moviegoers will think of this movie. What little does happen, happens at a snails pace and isn't very interesting. I go to a movie to be entertained and this movie is not entertaining. The only ones likely to enjoy "About Schmidt" are those who's taste in movies generally runs close to that of movie critics since they enjoyed it very much.
Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has
arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time. To begin with, he
is retiring from a lifetime of service as an actuary for Woodmen of the World
Insurance Company, and he feels utterly adrift. Furthermore, his only daughter
Jeannie (Hope Davis) is about to marry a boob. And his wife Helen (June Squibb)
dies suddenly after 42 years of marriage.
With no job, no wife, and no family,
Warren is desperate to find something meaningful in his thoroughly unimpressive
life. He sets out on journey of self-discovery, exploring his roots across
Nebraska in the 35-foot motor home in which he had planned to drive around the
country with his late wife. His ultimate destination is Denver, where he hopes
to bridge the gulf between himself and his somewhat estranged daughter by
arriving early to help with her wedding preparations. Unfortunately, he hates
the groom-to-be Randall (Dermot Mulroney), a profoundly mediocre, underachieving
waterbed salesman. To make matters worse, Warren is appalled by the
free-spirited nature and boorish behavior of his soon-to-be in-laws (Kathy Bates
and Howard Hesseman). Warren grows swiftly convinced that his new purpose in
life is to stop his daughter's marriage.
Throughout his journey, Warren details
his adventures and shares his observations with an unexpected new friend and
confessor -- Ndugu Umbo, a six-year-old Tanzanian orphan whom he sponsors for
$22 a month through an organization that advertises on TV. From these long
letters filled with a lifetime of things unsaid, Warren begins -- perhaps for
the first time -- to glimpse himself and the life he has lived.