Straight Story, The
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: +2

Based on a true story that made the newspapers in 1994, THE STRAIGHT STORY is a beautifully photographed film that celebrates the uncluttered wholesomeness of rural America. Alvin Straights (Richard Farnsworth) eyes are too weak to allow him to drive, and his crippled hips force him to use two canes. Yet when he hears that his estranged brother in Wisconsin has had a serious stroke, Alvin knows he must see him. So from Laurens, Iowa, Alvin sets out on a 30-year-old tractor-mower to Wisconsin, traveling at five miles an hour for over five weeks. Along the way, this amazing gentleman impacts the lives of the many strangers he meets. Included are a frightened teenage girl running away from home, a large group of cyclists, a fellow World War II veteran who shares his continuing nightmares of battle, and a Catholic priest. The tragedies and joys of Alvins own past have given him the compassion, dignity and wisdom to connect with all who cross his path. Children under 10 will probably find this movie too slow. Others who can enjoy a Norman Rockwell kind of experience may want to take parents and/or grandparents to see THE STRAIGHT STORY, then splurge with an old-fashioned ice cream soda afterwards.

Alvin has overcome alcoholism, survived the battlefields of war, experienced the loss of his wife and coped with a slightly retarded daughter. But he has learned the value of family and realizes he must mend fences with his brother. He tells of teaching his children that its easy to break a single stick in two, but, if you tie a bundle of sticks together, you cannot break them. And thats how families are. It is so encouraging to see the awe and respect strangers have for Alvin. Instead of making fun of him as crazy or senile, they are drawn to his warmth and perseverance. THE STRAIGHT STORY has no sexual content, obscenities or violence. Several profanities include "Jeez" and a few exclamatory ones. This film should also be encouraging to the American public clamoring for decent entertainment. Along with Disney being boycotted by many, it deserves some credit for this wholesome, entertaining adult film.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Buena Vista/Walt Disney Pictures, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

Crude Language: Few (3) timesAll Mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Several (9) timesRegular 5 (Jeez), Exclamatory 4
Violence: None, but some dangerous moments (runaway tractor)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Few times (beer drinking and smoking)
Other: Family values stressed; old age treated respectfully; kindness of strangers
Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 10 and older

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