September 16 - 22, 2005 • Vol. 26 - No. 37

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An Unfinished Life—So, Whose Is?
by The Maven and The Blonde
Contributing Writers

The film An Unfinished Life was directed by Lasse Hallström (Shipping News and Cider House Rules), from a novel and screenplay written by Mark Spragg. It has been sitting on a shelf for two years.
The story takes place on a rundown ranch in Wyoming. Actually, it's British Columbia, but who cares? It looked like Wyoming! Ranch owner Einar Gilkyson, scruffily played by Robert Redford (The Clearing and Up Close and Personal), like his ranch, has seen better days. Einar takes care of his friend and ranch hand of forty years, Mitch, portrayed by Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins and War of the Worlds), who was mauled by a bear a year ago. Into their lives walks Einar’s widowed daughter-in-law, Jean, played by Jennifer Lopez (Monster-in-Law and Shall We Dance), who is running from an abusive boyfriend. Jean is accompanied by her ten-year-old daughter, Griff, (newcomer Becca Gardner). Einar has never forgiven Jean for the death of his only child in a car accident in which Jean was the driver. Consequently, Jean never told Einar he had a granddaughter. All of this makes for a lot of tension on the ranch. Meanwhile, the bear that attacked Mitch, played by Bart the Bear ll (The Bear), has returned from the mountains and is soon captured and displayed in a shabby local zoo. Mitch forgives the bear, as he was only doing what comes naturally. Einar cannot forgive Jean. More tension comes in the form of Gary, that abusive ex-boyfriend of Jean’s who has tracked her down and means to have her back. Will Einar forgive Jean and accept the child of his son? Who, if anyone, will release the bear from that horrible zoo? Can a person really finish his or her life?
The Blonde: I say, who cares, to all the above questions! An Unfinished Life was like Open Range meets Missing meets Sleeping with the Enemy…ROBERT REDFORD… OH ROBBIE, MEMMMMORIESSSS, THE WAY WE WERE! What happened to you, Robbie? I don't want to be mean, I know that he wants to grow old gracefully and he is a natural kind of guy, but he's like watching a beautiful rose wilt! Seriously, you're still a babe, Robert, but why are you turning into Grizzly Adams? What happened to the preppy way you were? I know Redford had to spit blood to get this film released, and it wasn't terrible. Personally though, I would rather see him do The Way We Were, part two. This film was just OK! It was slow-moving, slow to get to the point, with slow acting that had no dimension or color. I thought the bear gave the best acting performance, even though this was an all-star cast! The cow wasn't bad either.
The Maven: This was almost a really good movie. I can't blame the actors; they were good. Redford plays anger well. Freeman is always a good sidekick. Lopez could have done better, but there wasn't much to work with. I think the script was bland; everything was predictable. Bart the bear was REALLY good! I truly felt his BEARINESS when he lunged at Freeman. He emotes well. I would have liked to see more of him. Maybe a flashback to his CUBHOOD would have completed the story more.
The Blonde: I think this film might have been more believable if they did some flashbacks with Redford's character's son in the deadly accident, some good times with his son and Morgan's character getting mauled by the bear, so we could better understand the heart of this film...But hey, that's just the way I see things! This is not a film that you will remember Redford, Lopez, or Freeman for. Although, Morgan is brilliant in every role he has ever played, he did do the best he could for the script he was handed. Lopez is Lopez, except more boring, here. I have never been a fan and this film sure doesn't change that for me. I did like her in Selena, though. I felt that Robert's performance was pushed. He was acting. I didn't buy his pain for his son, or anything else for that matter. I love Robbie, and that's why I sat through until the end of this film. I MUST also add that no one finished their life in this film, which proves once again that movie titles should have something to do with the film!  
The Maven: Are you surprised that two companies with ties to President Bush have been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast? One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is (you guessed it) Halliburton! MY, MY, MY! If only he had moved that fast with the rescue efforts!
The Blonde: Nothing this man ever does that is WRONG surprises me. I must say, though, that I am happy that they replaced the head of FEMA, who is totally unqualified for the Hurricane Katrina disaster project. I did love, however, how the Hollywood celebs came out IMMEDIATELY in full force to help in any way they could. Some EVEN left their VACATIONS EARLY to do so!!! My favorite story though is about Laura Bush, the First Lady of the United States of America, stating how Hurricane Karina was so devastating, and she said it TWICE!  KARINA...KARINA! I think their press writer should inform her that it was Hurricane KATRINA… KATRINA… KATRINA, and not KARINA! I only hope and pray that one day soon the Golf Coast will be back the way it was, or even better than before!
The Maven: GOLF COAST? GOLF, GOLF? IT’S GULF, YOU BLONDE! And you complain about Laura Bush? At least she has an excuse! She's been living her life with George! I think I need to hook you up with her press agent to help you out!
The Blonde: OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN! Cut me some slack though, I lived with three men that equal ONE George!
The Maven: No excuses! I think it's great that celebrities and sports figures lend their time and fame to help in anyway they can. Too bad more politicians don't do the same. The only good thing to possibly come from this is that hopefully all communities will take a cue from the aftermath and prepare a disaster response that will address any needs that may arise. Depending on the Federal level doesn't seem to work! It's the local level that will have the most effect at first. Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now. I've been reading Jane Fonda's book and my political awareness is at its full tilt mode!
The Blonde: Okay, what the heck do soap operas have to do with Jane Fonda?
The Maven: WHAT? NO STARBUCKS AGAIN TODAY? Let's lighten things up some. Did you hear that Camilla's son, Tom, just got married? The bride is VERY pretty!
The Blonde: Yes, I knew! I WAS AT THE WEDDING... and she is very pretty! Maybe that will help Camilla's family's UGLY gene pool! 
The Maven: LIAR, LIAR! You would NEVER be caught dead at a Camilla gala! You're just trying to get me back for going to Trump’s wedding without you! Ya know Blonde, the director, Lasse Hallström, wrote and directed one of our favorite films, Once Around (Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter). He's obviously a better writer than a director!
The Blonde: Okay, we can forgive him, but not if the next film is that bad!  Mav, is it just me or was watching Redford milk a cow sexy? That was actually the best part of the film for me. I think that says something about this film! 
The Maven: Well, of course! You know I'm a COW LOVER! However, I do not relate to cow's utters! Redford still has something. Unfortunately, he didn't have much to work with in this film.
The Blonde: Yeah, he does have something. He still has his good looks, boyish charms and IT! I think that Becca Gardner is such a great little actress. I think she stole this film, except for the bear’s performance. We will be seeing a lot of her in the future. Is she James Gardner's daughter?
The Blonde: Oh, then Jennifer Garner is his daughter?
The Maven: NO, she is Ben Affleck's wife and she is also pregnant with their first child.
The Blonde: Wait just one minute here. I thought Ben was married to Jennifer Lopez?
The Maven: I need to set up a lunch with you and Laura Bush. The two of you would get on famously!
The Blonde: Speaking of my new friend Laura, she must miss Georgie. Since the hurricane, he is working 7 hours a day instead of his usual 4!
The Maven: What makes you think she missed him? An Unfinished Life is too leisurely-paced to be considered good. The cinematography was beautiful, but the story was only adequate. I recommend that you wait for it to come to cable! The bear was VERY good, though! I rate it a C- for commonly average.
The Blonde: I suggest that, unless you really need to get out, see another film or just stay home and do a Redford movie marathon! I rate An Unfinished Life a C-. For your movie snacks, go ahead and have Three Musketeers Bars, one for each of the three stars in the film. Boy, am I ready for some good films!

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