AN UNFINISHED LIFE
Release Date: September 09, 2005
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Robert
Redford, Morgan Freeman, Josh
Lucas, and Becca Gardner
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for some violence
including domestic abuse, and
Runtime: 104 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films
Director: Lasse Hallström
Executive Producer: Su Armstrong, Graham King,
Meryl Poster, Michelle Raimo,
Matthew Rhodes, Joe Roth, Mark
Rydell, and Harvey Weinstein
Producer: Leslie Holleran, Alan Ladd
Jr., and Kelliann Ladd
Writer: Mark Spragg and Virginia Korus
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (212) 941-3800
Fax: (212) 941-3846
Jean, played by Jennifer Lopez, leaves her abusive boyfriend and moves in with Einar, the father of her deceased husband. Einar, played by Robert Redford, lives on a ranch. Einar is aging and bitter. He doesn't want to see Jean, because he blames her for his son's death. Jean doesn’t want to be on his ranch, either, but she has no other place to go and needs a stable environment for her young daughter Griff. Einar has never met Griff until now and doesn’t know how to relate to her.
Einar also has a companion on the ranch, Morgan Freeman’s character Mitch, who is recovering from a bear attack. Mitch’s effort to see that the bear is not tortured or mistreated, even while he suffers pain from the attack, becomes a clear metaphor for the forgiveness that Einar should extend to Jean. The wise Mitch advises Einar to befriend his granddaughter and reconcile with Jean, but Einar can only forge these relationships once he stops blaming Jean for his pain.
Befitting the setting, the movie moves at a slow, loping pace. As might be expected for a movie starring Jennifer Lopez, the characters display their personalities in very obvious ways that leave little room for subtlety or the audience’s mental participation in the story. As the characters begin to interact, however, they become more likeable, and the movie picks up some momentum.
AN UNFINISHED LIFE deals with forgiveness and reconciliation. Morgan Freeman’s character states the real point of the film when he says, “People hurt you, but you can’t punish them forever.” He enacts his words when he sets free the bear that mauled him. Jean and Einar both make selfish, destructive decisions involving their children, but they grow up and become more moral people. They are redeemed from their ugly behavior.
This warm story isn’t appropriate for children, as it contains some strong profanity, domestic violence, a few lawless acts, and situations that are too complex for young people.
Although it’s nice to see a strong character arc, AN UNFINISHED LIFE is a paint-by-numbers family drama probably designed with Oscar hopes in mind. There is nothing special or memorable about it. It is average in all regards, although it would be nice if more average movies were as pleasant to watch and as rewarding as this one.
AN UNFINISHED LIFE deals with forgiveness and reconciliation. Morgan Freeman’s character states the movie's true point: “People hurt you, but you can’t punish them forever.” He utters his words when he sets free the bear that mauled him. Jean and Einar make selfish, destructive decisions involving their children, but they grow up and become more moral people. There is a strong caution for foul language, but AN UNFINISHED LIFE is a quality, but average, drama about family.