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Secondhand Lions Movie

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For 14-year old Walter, his crazy uncles’ farm in rural Texas is the last place on earth he wants to spend the summer. Left by his unfit mother, Mae, in the middle of nowhere with two crazy old men and the promise that she’ll come back for him, Walter doesn’t know what to believe in. Eccentric and gruff, Hub and Garth McCaan are rumored to have been bank robbers, mafia hit men and/or war criminals in their younger days. The truth is elusive, although they do seem to have an endless supply of cash. But Walter begins to see a new side to his great uncles when he stumbles on an old photograph of a beautiful woman hidden away in a trunk and asks Garth who she is.

A couple of worldly heroes, who become victims of old age, find new life when their 14-year old nephew is dumped off for the summer by his unfit mother. The most impressive thing about Haley Joel Osment is his ability to act without the use of words and elaborate actions. His ability to get into character through simple movements and facial expressions continues to impress me with every ensuing project in which he is involved. Haley's portrayal of Walter gives the character an increased sense of vulnerability without taking away his youthful enthusiasm. 

More impressive are the performances by Michael Caine and Robert Duvall. Their intensely moving portrayal of brothers really keeps this movie together all the way through. First, they are incredibly convincing as brothers and secondly Michael Caine's narration of the brothers mysterious and dangerous past is absolutely riveting. 

The nicest thing about this movie is that it didn't include too many inconsequential elements and scenes. Many movies which rely on flashbacks and storytelling do a horrible job of keeping focus on the character's struggles in the present day. The flashbacks do an excellent job of explaining the eccentric nature of the brothers while giving them a little bit of edge. Believe it or not, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine are well past their youthful prime, but the flashbacks help the characters maintain an essence/aura of youthfulness throughout the movie.

Many simple subplots (purchasing a lion / airplane) do an exceptional job of keeping the movies storyline light and fresh. Although the movie focuses on a young boys struggles to find an identity on the way to becoming a man and the inability of two stalwart men to accept their age, the producers do a good job of conveying the importance of living life to the fullest extent.

Although younger audiences won't find high-powered action scenes to feed their attention-deficit-disorder (ADD), many middle aged/older audiences and families will find this movie to be a diamond in the rough.  A solid ending, magnificent acting, and riveting flashbacks help this comdey/drama tell a wonderful story and create a positive box-office experience. 

See this movie if you're a fan of:

Haley Joel Osment (Actor, Pay it Forward, Sixth Sense, A.I.)

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

Your grandfather telling you war stories

Michael Caine (Actor, Quills, Cider House Rules)

star star star

Box Office Info:

Michael Caine (as Garth)
Robert Duvall (as Hub)
Haley Joel Osment (as Walter)
Kyra Sedgwick (as Mae)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (as Princess Jasmine)

Directed By: Tim McCanlies
Written By: Tim McCanlies
Produced By: New Line Cinema

Release Date (US): September 19, 2003

Length of Movie: 1h 49min

Filming Location: Austin, Texas

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, language and action violence.

Budget: $

Opening Weekend: $12,139,832

Secondhand Lions Soundtrack

Secondhand Lions Soundtrack
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