Spring Forward Movie Review

"Spring Forward" is a quiet and simple but exceptionally absorbing character study about two everyday men at opposite ends of their working lives -- one a young parolee trying to begin anew, the other reluctantly watching his retirement encroaching on his unaffected contentment.

The film opens on the day Paul (Liev Schreiber) begins work in the parks and recreation department of a small New England berg. Fresh out of the pokey for holding up a Dunkin' Donuts in a moment of financial desperation, he's very rough around the edges, has a short temper and the look of a man apprehensively aware that this is his one real chance to turn his life around.

On his first day as a maintenance worker he's coupled with Murph (Ned Beatty), a life-long municipal employee whose years in the job are apparent in his body language and his shoulder-shrugging perspective on the things in life he cannot control. "Spring Forward" ends a year later, on the day Murph retires.

In between, writer-director Tom Gilroy (the creative heart of New York's Machine Full theater company) presents a handful of seasonal vignettes that explore the mutual influence these two men have on each other's lives as they become close friends while working assorted outdoor jobs on the town's public lands.

Schreiber has definite ex-con credibility as his short-fuse personality slowly tempers into something more self-possessed and reflective. He begins to become comfortable with his place in the world and feels like his life is back on track.

Beatty's performance may be the best he's ever given in 100-plus films. He beautifully portrays the unpretentious wisdom of Murph's life experience, his inherent (if haggard) goodness and his don't- push- the- river- it- flows- by- itself take on life.

Gilroy's modest, philosophical script -- which sees Paul and Murph through some tough personal times and touches on topics from spirituality and morality to sex, AIDS and finding a soul mate -- is so strongly written that the film would likely be an artistic victory with any number of capable actors in the leads. (Indeed, one can imagine it as a stage play that is almost as good with its road company cast.) But Schreiber and especially Beatty make the movie golden.

"Spring Forward" is the kind of small film that must be discovered and talked about to have any box office success. Here's hoping it gets seen by enough people to start that vital word-of-mouth wave.


Comments

Spring Forward Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, Opened: Friday, February 9, 2001

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Surprise, Surprise: Thanks To Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. Continues His Reign As Hollywood's Richest Actor

It’s that time of the year again. With Forbes having published its...

Surprise, Surprise: Thanks To Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. Continues His Reign As Hollywood's Richest Actor

Simpsons Mania: FXX To Put Every Episode Online

American cable network FXX struck a deal last year to buy the rights to the...

Simpsons Mania: FXX To Put Every Episode Online

Beyonce Fends Off Divorce Rumours With Cute Instagram Snap

Rumours that a seperation is imminent have plagued the music power couple...

Beyonce Fends Off Divorce Rumours With Cute Instagram Snap

Justin Bieber Could Face Citizen's Arrest

After being called out six times to break up a rowdy party at his new digs in Beverely Hills, the police...

Justin Bieber Could Face Citizen's Arrest

J.J Abrams Reveals New X-Wing Fighter in New Star Wars Episode VII Video [Pictures]

J.J Abrams treated Star Wars fans to a look at a new model of the iconic...

J.J Abrams Reveals New X-Wing Fighter in New Star Wars Episode VII Video [Pictures]

'Boyhood' has 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. It Is Almost the Perfect Movie

It's no surprise that Richard Linklater's movie Boyhood was this week...

'Boyhood' has 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. It Is Almost the Perfect Movie
Advertisement

Once Upon A Time To Add Hans to Frozen Storyline

It was announced earlier this year that ABC series 'Once Upon A Time' would be...

Once Upon A Time To Add Hans to Frozen Storyline

Did Selena Gomez Dash Off To St Tropez To Bask In A New Relationship?

I don’t know about you, but she’s feeling 22… Selena Gomez just turned...

Did Selena Gomez Dash Off To St Tropez To Bask In A New Relationship?

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City

Seattle has one of the most legendary music scenes in America so...

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City


More recommendations

Advertisement