About Schmidt

  • Film
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After retirement and his wife's sudden death, insurance salesman Warren Schmidt (Nicholson) feels his life, and all the bland assumptions that have sustained it, slipping away from him. To get back on course, he travels in his Winnebago to see his beloved daughter (Davis) in the hope of preventing her marriage to a walking cliché (Mulroney) and of spending his remaining years with her. This perhaps excessively droll, even ponderous satire of Midwestern manners really takes off only when Warren reaches his prospective in-laws, allowing not only for alternative comic targets to arise but for Bates' beautifully judged turn to counterbalance Nicholson's admittedly impressive lead performance. Also enlivening are the letters to a Tanzanian child Schmidt sponsors - even though they strike a faintly false note of redemption in the final moments.

Release details

Duration: 125 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alexander Payne
Screenwriter: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Cast: Jack Nicholson
Hope Davis
Dermot Mulroney
Kathy Bates
Howard Hesseman
June Squibb
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TimeOut's incisive review is about as kind as you can be to this film. If you are American, you will have the right sense of humour to perhaps find this film witty, funny, and moving. If you are British you may well find it laboured, sentimental, and cringe-making, as I did. Or you may just go to sleep..