Around North Bath, upstate New York, Don 'Sully' Sullivan (Newman) is notorious as something of a wastrel. He left his family years ago, he's not averse to a spot of petty crime - especially in his run-ins with construction boss Carl (Willis), with whose wife (Griffith) Sully has a barely platonic relationship - and his cronies include the town idiot and a one-legged lawyer who's never won Sully a case. Only his landlady (Tandy) really believes in him. Still, Sully is a die-hard optimist, and when his estranged son and grandson turn up, a chance arises to make amends to his family. Benton's quietly superb adaptation of Richard Russo's novel is one of those movies you thought they didn't make any more. It succeeds on several levels: as a wry hymn to community and long-term familiarity, a Hawksian fable about responsibility, an elegiac portrait of an endangered way of American life, and a quixotic celebration of unfounded optimism as embodied in Newman's supremely easy playing.
Cast and crew
Pruitt Taylor Vince