The Straight Story

 "The worst part of gettin old is rememberin when you was young."

"The worst part of gettin old is rememberin when you was young."

Written by John Roach and Mary Sweeney. Directed by David Lynch. 1999.

The Straight Story opens with the sounds of crickets over a field of stars, and among its first images is a fat woman eating pink cupcakes while sunbathing in her back yard. So despite the witty double entendre of its title, the movie is very much a David Lynch film, playing to the director's great warmth and curious sense of humor. When I first saw it in 2000, I was watching it for the wrong reasons and had no frame of reference for Lynch. Now, I find it poignant, funny, and occasionally preachy. Still, Alvin Straight's ministrations to the folks he encounters on his journey always reveal new facets of his character, not theirs, and the scene in the bar where he and another old man recount their wartime ghosts is as powerful as such scenes get. He recalls the faces of his buddies who never came home, how they've remained young while he's aged.