A Movie Review by Zinta Aistars
* Starring: Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Haley Joel Osment
* Director: Tim McCanlies
* Studio: New Line Home Entertainment, 2003
It occurs to me as I sit here pondering my review of "Secondhand Lions" that I must somehow cloak the first words that come to mind. Words, phrases, such as "a feel-good movie" or "good family fun" or "heart-warming." As if it were, well, "uncool" to label a movie such things these days, almost like a movie kiss of death. Isn't this a time of Hollywood special effects? Of hot babes and pyrotechnics? Of gratuitous violence and sensationalism? So it is. And so this movie is not. And oh, we are a glad audience for it!
Haley Joel Osment, to whom many of us in the movie audience were introduced in "Sixth Sense," plays Walter, a young boy whose mother (Kyra Sedgewick) pursues everything in life but motherhood. He finds himself dumped like excess baggage on the well weathered front stoop of his two uncles' country house. The uncles, played with wonderful eccentricity by Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, resist but later embrace their young nephew. How the three bond into a true family is a tale that does indeed warm the heart, lighten the spirit, and perhaps even restore a faded belief in today's cynical world that goodness, yes, goodness, still has a place on the silver screen. Osment is absolutely first rate in this movie, and the two vintage stars, Caine and Duvall, still shine as brightly as ever, if not more so.
It may be that the popularity of movies such as this could send Hollywood a message. Good is still good on the movie screen.