the 50 best david lynch characters: the countdown
Time Out Film count down the greatest David Lynch creations
Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth)
As seen in ‘The Straight Story’
'At my age I've seen about all that life has to dish out. I know to separate the wheat from the chaff, and let the small stuff fall away.’
As an unpredictably charming prelude to the surreal one-two punch of ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘Inland Empire’, Lynch delivered his most down-the-line film since ‘The Elephant Man’ with the folksy true tale of a rumpled war veteran who travels across America on a motorised lawnmower to visit his ailing brother. A film with no trace of psychotic rapists or discombobulated Hollywood jet trash, ‘The Straight Story’ is often seen as a gorgeously wistful one-off within Lynch’s oeuvre. But it is in fact a perfect encapsulation of the director’s fond fixation with rustic Americana and the truism that for every evil bastard out there, there’s someone like Alvin Straight to balance the equilibrium. Indeed, Straight’s charming insistence on carrying out his voyage on his own unconventional terms could be seen as a metaphor for Lynch’s own free-associative and cosmically aligned working methods. Farnsworth's performance is the very definition of lovable, and to add poignancy to a film about the ravages of age and the difficulties of keeping connected with friends and family, the actor took his own life shortly after filming due to the immense pain he was experiencing following a hip operation.