Film Commentary [4-11-00]
Talk about it - - Spring Forward
Genre: Drama
Grade = A-

Spring Forward begins it narrative as the first day for Paul (Liev Schrieber - The Hurricane, RKO 281) on a new job for a city parks and recreation maintenance team for a small town in New England. Paul is an ex-con who just got out of the pen for armed robbery. He’s willing to work to create a new life for himself, but is haunted by his past and his past failings. He is teamed with Murph (Ned Beatty), an old-time employee of the city who loves his job and is willing to help Paul over the humps of life. Over the course of the film the two grow to trust and like each other.

Written and directed by Tom Gilroy, this film consists of a series of dialogs between the two set over the course of a year. This is of course something that is very rare: an American dialog movie. It is very rare for a reason, most Americans have too short an attention span to simply watch two people talk to each other. Secondly, most film makers who attempt to make a dialog movie fail miserably at accomplishing what dialog movies are supposed to do: have the characters talk about interesting things that can hold an audience’s attention. This film does not fail. The two characters talk about nothing in particular such as opinions, confidences, life stories, etc., but through this talk about the meaning of life.

Schieber hands in out of the ordinary performance of a man wanting to evolve into a real functional adult. Beatty shows that he is truly a skillful master of his craft and is utterly convincing. Both portray working class Americans as ordinary people. Hollywood would have treated them as red neck morons. Most importantly it is the writing that drives the film. It is at times riveting and thought provoking and highly emotional.

There is also a guest appearance by Geri Gilpin (Roz on Fraiser) who is trying to give some puppies away but ends up asking Paul out on a date.

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