Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HIdden Gems: Secondhand Lions

It's a rarity nowadays to find a film that plays to the entire family. From the parents, to the children, to the grandparents. Secondhand Lions is such a film.

It's the story of Walter, a young boy who is dropped off by his mother to live with his two reclusive uncles in the country. It's said that the uncles secretly have millions upon millions of dollars stashed away somewhere, but no one knows how they got it or whether it's even real. Meanwhile Walter grows close to his two uncles, being told old adventure stories from his Uncle Garth from the two uncle's youth.

The film finds Walter questioning himself, wondering what to truly believe. What Walter discovers is that you believe in what you want to. If he wants to see the good in his uncle's, then he'll believe their adventure stories rather than accept that they might in fact be bank robbers from the 1920s. Course the film answers the truth as to whether or not his uncles were lying to him the whole time by the end of the film, wrapping everything up in a satisfying way.

The film was well directed by Tim McCanlies, never overplaying the tender moments. He handles the tall tales told by Uncle Garth in a dreamlike fashion, which suits the film perfectly. As well the acting is fantastic. Michael Caine and Robert Duvall deliver fine performances as the two uncles; Duvall in particular comes through in conveying his character's disatisfaction with life and his want to not grow old, but to simpy kick the bucket. Then Haley Joel Osment rounds out the cast as Walter, conveying the right amount of self doubt to make us as the audience wonder about the truth in Garth's stories.

Though what makes Secondhand Lions a charmer is that it's a perfect family movie. It's funny, heartwarming, highly emotional, and is action-packed. The movie balances the adventure with the comedy and drama perfectly to strike a chord with the audience, to where at the end of the film you feel as if you've been on a one of a kind journey that only the magic of the cinema can produce.

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