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The Majestic

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Majestic

Starring: Jim Carrey, Martin Landau
Director: Frank Darabont
Rated: PG
RunTime: 154 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Drama, Romance, Comedy

*Also starring: Amanda Detmer, Laurie Holden, Bob Balaban, Ron Rifkin, David Ogden Stiers, Hal Holbrooke, Matt Damon

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewvideo review
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4.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Back in the '30s and '40s, director Frank Capra made a series of sentimental movies with a message: "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Life." The recurrent theme was an idealistic individual, an improbable, often reluctant hero, who bucks all odds and thwarts materialistic, anti-social schemes. In this story, written by Michael Sloane and set in 1951, a B-movie screenwriter Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is suspected of being a Communist by the fascistic House Un-American Activities Commission. Frantic about being blacklisted, he gets drunk, accidentally drives off a bridge, loses his memory and winds up in the small Northern California town of Lawson, where he's mistaken for Luke Trimble, a local W.W.II hero. Luke's father (Martin Landau), owner of the dilapidated Majestic movie theater, truly believes that his long-lost son has returned and Luke's fiancee (Laurie Holden), who has just passed her law bar exam, is entranced. In fact, the whole town embraces him - until his amnesia vanishes and his true identity is revealed. That's where director Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile," "The Shawshank Redemption") clumsily veers uncontrollably into cliché Capra-land. When Peter Appleton testifies before HUAC, he champions the First Amendment while attacking the cynicism of McCarthyism. The film suffers from shallow, anachronistic dialogue, slow pacing and historical inconsistencies - not to mention the fact that most audiences have no recollection of the Hollywood blacklist which is not fully explained. On the other hand, Jim Carrey scores, evoking a young, vulnerable Jimmy Stewart/Gary Cooper. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Majestic" is a poignant, simplistic 7. It's a flag-waving fantasy that never quite makes it as a fable.

Copyright © 2001 Susan Granger

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