The Straight Story

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The Straight Story is a motion picture, released in 1999 and directed by David Lynch. Compared to his previous work, this film represented a complete reversal of Lynch's style. Not only is it his only G-rated feature, it was distributed by Buena Vista, the distributor of all Disney animated films (see Disney-MGM Studios). Many critics and fans were pleasantly surprised that a director that often deals in bizarre, abstract, and disturbing imagery opted to make such a simple, sweet film based on a true story. The result, however, is undeniably Lynchian, using his trademark slow, dreamy pace and visually dark scenes to create a sense of peace instead of dread.

Synopsis

Alvin Straight (played by veteran actor Richard Farnsworth) is a sickly, elderly man who lives with his adult daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek). When he hears that his estranged brother Lyle has suffered a stroke, he makes up his mind to go visit him and hopefully make amends. The trouble is that Alvin's legs and eyes are too impaired for him to drive. So he hitches a trailer to his riding lawn mower and sets off on the journey from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.

The film is the story of Alvin's six-week journey across rural America, the people he meets, his impact on their lives, and theirs on his. It's a modern Odyssey of a man dealing with his own mortality and the lasting bonds of brotherhood.

Production

Richard Farnsworth earned a 1999 Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Alvin Straight.

Sissy Spacek is the wife of Lynch's long-time friend and production designer, Jack Fisk.