Opening 24 Nov 2005
Writing credits: Mark Spragg, Virginia Korus Spragg
Principal actors: Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Morgan Freeman, Josh Lucas, Damian Lewis
“An unfinished life…”: three simple words written on the tombstone of Griff Gilkyson, the son of Wyoming rancher Einar (Robert Redford). Griff died in a car accident ten years earlier, which Einar blames on Griff’s wife, Jean (Jennifer Lopez). Neither Einar nor Jean has ever healed, and each barely exists – Einer lives out a lonely life on his farm, accompanied only by his faithful ranch hand Mitch (Morgan Freeman); Jean moves from one abusive relationship to another. When one boyfriend goes too far, Jean flees to Wyoming as a last resort, bringing her daughter (who is also Einar’s granddaughter, unbeknownst to him) with her.
An Unfinished Life is a rare type of film: one with an unhurried plot and simple themes that still manages to touch audiences deeply. Directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), Life is not particularly original (in fact, it has a lot in common with one of Redford’s past box office hits: The Horse Whisperer), but even though the audience can guess where the film is going, it is still a pleasant journey. The acting is good, especially by newcomer Becca Gardner as Jean’s daughter Griff, and the landscapes and soundtrack are lovely to watch and listen to. Overall, while this may not be an extraordinary Life, it is well-worth experiencing. (Kirsten Greco)