Unfinished Life

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Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Morgan Freeman, Josh Lucas

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

AN UNFINISHED LIFE is a gentle, slow-burning drama with Robert Redford as a crusty old grandfather who needs lessons in forgiveness, and Jennifer Lopez as the daughter-in-law who turns up on his doorstep with a granddaughter in tow to teach him.

Redford plays Einar Gilkyson, a man still beside himself with grief at the loss of his son Griffin Gilkyson a decade ago. He blames Griffin’s wife Jean (Jennifer Lopez). Jean has tried to move on with her life, but her guilt and despair has led her into the arms of men who batter her senseless. When the latest brute, Gary (Damian Lewis), throws one punch too many yet again, Jean’s 11 year-old daughter Griff begs her mother to leave. The only place she can think of to take refuge is at Einar’s farm in Wyoming, where she introduces him to the grand-daughter he never knew existed.

Slowly the stubborn Einor begins to get to know his granddaughter, through whom he begins to face demons of his own, and of which he already has an every day reminder through his invalid farm-worker Mitch (Morgan Freeman).

Damian Lewis is a bit of a waste as the barely there Gary, Lopez’s performance is good but the highlight is the pleasure of watching Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman in each other’s company. Redford is solid, dependable and most brilliantly of all never sentimental, but the main problem comes with the pacing and direction of the film – for some reason, there is just not enough ‘umph’ to lift this film above the ordinary.

4 out of 6 stars