Movie Review by Dr Kuma
Starring: Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, Laurie Holden, Allen Garfield, Bruce Campbell
Director: Frank Darabont
There was a strange request handed to me before the preview of this film asking our cooperation in not revealing the ending of the film to readers. Strange because anyone who has seen CINEMA PARIDISO, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and is a fan of ‘Capraesque’ movies such as PLEASANTVILLE or the stars of THE TRUMAN SHOW, will be able to see exactly how it will all end before the first half of the film is completed. Still, that’s not to say that it isn’t a touching, well rounded and enjoyable journey that gets us there.
Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) finds himself embroiled in the Reds under the bed witch hunts of 1950’s McCarthyism. His trouble free life is turned on its head as he becomes black listed for attending a ‘Communist party’ party without knowing what it was several years earlier. His friends and girlfriend disown him so he decides to drown his sorrows and drive up the coast, drunk, to try and clear his head. His head becomes the focal point of the movie at this point as he has a car crash and nearly drowns, hitting his head in the process and losing his memory.
He wakes up on a beach and is taken into town by a kindly resident where everyone thinks they have seen him before. It’s at this point that an old man, Harry Trimble (the always-excellent Martin Landau), recognises Peter as his son Luke – presumed dead and a war hero. The news of Luke’s return changes the fortunes of the down trodden town, as Peter tries to come to terms with who he is (or is supposed to be). Peter starts living his life where Luke left off, which includes inspiring others and continuing his relationship with the love of Luke’s life (and now his) Sandra Sinclair (Amanda Detmer). He also follows Harry’s wish and re-opens the Majestic, a cinema, to bring a little sparkle back into the lives of the people of Lawson.
I won’t go into the story too much but as you can guess, Peter has left his own life behind and while he thinks he is Luke, the enemies that Peter has made are looking for him….
This really is a very well structured (if a little too obvious) feel good movie. Before it goes into sentimental overdrive in the second half of the near 3 hour running time, Frank Dubonts film is a joy. The entire cast play their roles with real gusto and you really do start to care for them becoming swept along by the whole thing as you watch in wonder if the world really was this simple and as homely as the town of Lawson is portrayed to be. I for one would love to have lived there.
Jim Carrey virtually reprises the character he portrayed in THE TRUMAN SHOW but that’s not a bad thing. While THE TRUMAN SHOW is a modern day classic, THE MAJESTIC is a warm and well crafted tale that harks back to the golden days of Hollywood. Nice touches for those who love movies that include props from other films like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK cropping up in the B Film that Appleton (Carrey’s original character) wrote called “Sand Pirates Of the Sahara” as well as nice touches like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS playing at The Majestic while Carrey (now Luke) takes tickets, linking into the plot of the film we are watching.
All in all a winning film for an audience who could do with another FORREST GUMP type movie which shows a man who tries to be himself (even though he doesn’t know who he really is) will win through in the end. America loves it’s freedom, even when the individual has to stand up and shout it to the multitude, using a few cliches along the way.
Dr Kuma’s verdict: Another good performance from Carrey, which will appeal to an older audience than he used to capture. Take your tissues.