Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nobody's Fool

Movie Name: Nobody's Fool
Year of Release: 1994
Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Jessica Tandy, Dylan Walsh, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gene Saks, Josef Sommer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco, Catherine Dent
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Writer and director Robert Benton's celebrated career, hasn't been the most prolific one from the directors of his generation, but he has directed and written some iconic films from the last decades (for instance he wrote Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" and directed "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Places in the Heart"). "Nobody's Fool", was the best of his production of the 90s (he also directed "Billy Bathgate" and "Twilight"). The film is an adaptation of the novel from Richard Russo, and follows the story of Sully, a man in his late 60s, who freelances in the construction business with his best friend Rub. He clashes quite often with a local contractor, the successful Carl Roebuck, while simultaneously flirting with his wife. Sully has unresolved issues with his estranged son, who reappears in his life with a small child of his own. Sully tries to rebuild these relationships all the while, a string of good luck appears in his life.
Robert Benton has built a reputation throughout his career for directing films anchored in actors performances, and allowing for characters to be fully dimensional. "Nobody's Fool" is another fine example of this tradition: the film allows for Paul Newman to build a great performance, playing the wise cracking and crusty Sully, who also has a kind heart. He's basically a man who never truly grew up and is forced to do so, for the sakes of his son and of his grandson, who are part of his life, and who need his assistance. The film smartly focuses on the lives of these regular people, and perfectly captures a blend of small dramas and the humor that punctuates every day life. The supporting performances are equally great, from Jessica Tandy, Pruitt Taylor Vince and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. An underrated film worth watching.