From the acclaimed director of CASANOVA, CHOCOLAT, and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES ... Academy Award(R) winners Robert Redford (Best Director, ORDINARY PEOPLE, 1980) and Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, 2004) star in this powerful story of risk and redemption. Stoic and heartbroken, Einar Gilkyson (Redford) quietly lives in the rugged Wyoming ranchlands alongside his only trusted friend, Mitch Bradley (Freeman). Then, suddenly, the woman he blames for the death of his only son arrives at his door broke, desperate, and with a granddaughter he's never known. But even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection, adventure, and forgiveness. Also starring Jennifer Lopez (SHALL WE DANCE?) and Josh Lucas (SWEET HOME ALABAMA, GLORY ROAD).
Much like the late Rodney Dangerfield, some films just can't get any respect. Shelved by Miramax for two years, An Unfinished Life was released with little fanfare between Morgan Freeman's Oscar win and Lasse Hallström's higher-profile Casanova. Despite critical praise from some quarters, the heartland drama got lost amidst the shuffle. The title comes from the epitaph of Griffin, late son of Wyoming rancher Einar (a rumpled Robert Redford). Between chores, he looks after ranch hand Mitch (Freeman), who was mauled by a bear the year before. One day, daughter-in-law Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and granddaughter Griff (Becca Gardner) drop by the ranch unexpectedly. They're on the run from Jean's abusive boyfriend, Gary (Damian Lewis), back in Iowa. "I don't want you here," Einar states flatly--he blames her for Griffin's death 12 years ago--but the look on the kid's face convinces him to relent. While Jean works as a waitress in town and embarks on a tentative relationship with Sheriff Crane (Josh Lucas), his newfound granddaughter helps to take care of Mitch. Just as the four are starting to form a loose-knit family, Gary comes looking for Jean and upsets the delicate balance. It may pack fewer surprises than the superior What's Eating Gilbert Grape and the bear symbolism may be a mite heavy-handed, but the deeply unfashionable An Unfinished Life deserves a second chance to find an audience. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
"The Making Of An Unfinished Life" featurette "Training Bart the Bear" featurette Still gallery