The Straight Story

The Straight Story ★★★★

A man, a riding mower, age, family, reconciliation. Both Alvin Straight's journey and the movie itself are direct, patient, and to the point. Lynch tells us what we need to know when we need to know it. The underlying theme is the human potential for kindness.

Alvin is closer to the typical Lynch protagonist than one might assume. It's not news that Lynch believes humans are uneasily balanced between small town goodness and the corruption that lurks everywhere. It's obvious that this movie is drenched in the former. When Alvin tells that story about his war experiences, though, his connection to the rest of Lynch's work comes into sharp focus.

Alvin is a good man, like Agent Cooper, who passed through his own Black Lodge successfully. His reconciliation with his brother is the final step in that success. He's stayed connected to most of his family -- here the story of his daughter Rose becomes more poignant -- and draws strength from that. In most Lynch stories, the corruptive forces overcome the protagonists; this is the one where humanity wins.

Boofest 2024: connected to Network by the things old men do when they know they're dying.

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