He may be 70years old, but Paul Newman is still full of playful charm.
He plays Donald "Sully" Sullivan, a guy who's run away from responsibility all of his adult life. He left his wife and infant son, and now years later, is forced to deal with his grown son's resentment. He's also getting to know one of his grandsons, although sometimes it's difficult to remember his name or exactly where he left him.
Although Sully's life is full of problems, he takes everything as it comes with a wink and dogged determination. Ironically, for a man who's so afraid of commitment, Sully seems to be a magnet to all the needy souls in his small New York Town. Everyone relies on good ole Sully - he's companion to his landlady (Jessica Tandy), rescuer of the town's elderly, a shoulder for Melanie Griffith to cry on over her philandering husband (Bruce Willis) and best friend to his mentally slow coworker (Pruitt Taylor Vince.)
The snowy neighborhood diner where the locals gather for coffee and jelly donuts and the dim bar where Sully plays cards with his cronies in the back room, are a perfect setting for these quirky characters
Director/screenwriter Robert Benton (Places in the Heart) has made a moving humorous story of a man who has made mistakes, but in his 60s decides to right a few wrongs. Sully doesn't live by the rules and he appears to get a big kick out of his own idiosyncrasies. He has battles with everyone in town, but later in the day, everything is forgotten and he shares a beer or a poker game with the same people he was arguing with, or in the case of Willis, suing. One of the funniest parts of the film is an ongoing feud between Sully and Willis' character over a Toro snowblower.
The cast is terrific. Tandy, in her last screen appearance, is gentle and regal. Griffith, who has a verbal love affair with Sully, is lovely and sweet. Vince is great as the loyal friend, and Willis is brashly arrogant. Even with his wonderful cast, Newman is showcased. He has a character that he steps inside of and makes his own. Even with all of his faults, Newman wears him with pride.
Newman acts like he still loves this job and he deserves a "Best Actor" nomination, because he's never been better.
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