Carrey Connects in Capraesque The Majestic
- Friday, November 30, 2001
Best for: Mature teens to adults
What it’s about: Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is a young and ambitious screenwriter who cares about little but getting his next picture made. Unfortunately for Peter, it’s 1951, and the Un-American Activities Committee is conducting an investigation into Communist influence in Hollywood. Peter is a prime suspect.
His picture is canceled and his writing career, character, reputation and respectability are destroyed. Peter decides to drink his sorrows away, but an accident transports him to the small town of Lawson, Calif. He awakens with no memory of who he is. The town thinks Peter is their long-lost local World War II hero, Luke Trimble, whom many presumed dead. Peter/Luke discovers he has a father (Martin Landau), an old girlfriend (Laurie Holden) and an entire town that still loves him … until his past catches up with him. Amanda Detmer, David Ogden Stiers and James Whitmore also star.
The good: Hurray for Director Frank Darabont, who gives us a Capraesque Mr. Smith Goes to Washington meets It’s a Wonderful Life, filled with old fashioned romance, comedy and drama. Visually, The Majestic resembles a Norman Rockwell painting, with warm tones and wonderful details direct from the 1950s.
Darabont has captured not only the look and feel of the 50’s, but the spirit, heart and patriotism of the era. Perhaps even more importantly, the film displays a passion for truth and standing for what you believe.
Carrey delivers one of his better performances, struggling to be everything the town wants him to be while facing the truth about the man he used to be. He also proves (as he did in The Truman Show) that he can tone down his outlandish, elastic-faced comedic persona and deliver a warm, charming and naturally funny character.
The restoration of the father/son relationship in the film is touching, with Landau delivering a memorable performance. A healthy father/daughter relationship between Stiers and Holden is also included. Mother roles are absent.
This is a feel-good holiday movie about family, community, patriotism, freedom of speech, our civil rights and taking a stand for what we believe in, although the Godly foundation our forefathers fought for to make all of those principles possible isn’t mentioned or emphasized. I enjoyed The Majestic, which will remind audiences of the truly important people and things we have in life, and how often we take them for granted.
It’s interesting to see so many recent patriotic movies, written and made long before September 11, come along just when we need an emotional life. The divine timing makes this movie heartwarmingly special.
The not-so-good: Sadly, it’s the language that keeps this movie out of the Frank Capra league. Had Capra made The Majestic, it would have been acceptable for all ages.
Offensive language: A few mild curse words and several religious profanities.
Sexual situations: None
Violence: An accident sweeps a car off a bridge, but no one dies.
Parental advisory: Unfortunately, the language, relationship issues, length of the movie and mature themes about communism make The Majestic too adult for younger viewers, depsite the film's "PG" rating.
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