Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

An Unfinished Life


Sometimes I wonder about some of these big stars of my generation. Jane Fonda doesn’t make a movie for 15 years, and then what does she pick? The fairly awful comedy Monster-in-Law. Barbra Streisand isn’t around for years, then pops up in the cash-in sequel Meet the Fockers. What’s the deal here?

Robert Redford used to make movies he believed in. Not all of them were successful, but at least he was trying. Now, I’ll concede 2004’s The Clearing was a very good film, underrated and hardly seen. But before that, the last film he made that I can believe really mattered to him was The Horse Whisperer in 1998, and even that was rather clichèd. Bottom line, he’s not making the transition from young hunk who wants to be taken seriously—and deserves to be!—to the elder statesman, like Paul Newman. Here he goes for rumpled and gruff … but with an easily accessible heart of gold just waiting to be set thumping by a darling granddaughter he doesn’t know about. The whole movie is by the numbers. You can’t hate it, but you see everything coming. It’s a celluloid salad, all the right poignant and/or frightening elements thrown in, a little salt and a lot of honey, shake well, serve earnestly. Lee was worried the bear would get him, but I wasn’t; the bear was just a symbol. But she knew exactly when the asshole stalker boyfriend would show up, and bingo! Just in time for Redford to beat the shit out of him.

The only really good thing here is Becca Gardner, who looks younger than her 15 years and is somebody to watch for. Very appealing.