Movies By Request

Spring Forward

Year: 1999
Directed By: Tom Gilroy
Written By: Tom Gilroy


When we watched Deliverance a few weeks ago I spent some time at work discussing it the following day.  Naturally Ned Beatty was discussed at some length and I even played the Steve Goodie song for everyone to hear. Turns out the discussion prompted one of my co-workers to bring this movie in and suggest I see it. After being assured he wasn’t sodomized in this one I said I’d be happy to check it out. I had never heard of this film before but I happen to value the opinions of the people I work with and as a lover of movies I am always interested in being introduced to something that would have otherwise slipped past me. I have said several times that a movie is usually better when it is written and directed by the same person.  This is no different, this may have been the only feature length film made by Tom Gilroy but he had a good story to tell and did a really good job with it.

From the very beginning you can see that this movie offers a lot to learn from.  This is a real movie about real people and I usually like films like this.  These films don’t get wide release, they don’t make millions of dollars, and generally they are seen by a much smaller audience but that doesn’t diminish their value. This movie has a lot to say about human nature, about growing as a person, and about dealing with the difficult circumstances of life. That’s a recipe from a great movie that can help us all grow to be better people.  These two men start out very differently, but throughout the year that takes place during the movie they learn from one another, and they develop a bond that makes them both better people. The changing seasons bears a lot of symbolism in this film and I specifically like the subtle changes you can observe in the characters as the year progresses. I now understand how Ned Beatty managed to have a career beyond Deliverance. He shows so much honesty and range playing the part of Murphy dealing with his obvious discomfort over his son’s sexuality and grief over his death.  Liev Schreiber does a good job playing the part of Paul, who somewhat becomes the son that Murphy always wished he had.  Schreiber is one of those actors who is consistently good but can’t quite make it to real stardom.  It’s probably because his name is so difficult to pronounce.  I think he was particularly good playing Sabertooth in the Wolverine movie; he was the best thing about an awful movie.

I really like that at the end of this movie it is Paul who finds himself chasing someone who wants to quit through the woods to bring them back out with a little hope.  His relationship with Murphy has taught him a thing or two; he has grown as a person.  As Murphy hangs his hat he leaves Paul to carry the torch in his stead, leaving a man where he had met a boy.  Like I said earlier, there is plenty that all of us can learn from what these men learn from each other. This was a great movie that I really enjoyed watching.  I would like to thank my friend and co-worker Erin for letting me borrow it.

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