The Majestic Short Review (2001)
I don’t think it did well among audiences and got a lukewarm reception from critics (getting around 27% from so called Top Critics on a certain tomato site). It’s slow paced, but the film has a highly nostalgic take on days gone by that I find endlessly watchable.
Jim Carrey is in low key mode which he generally does very well. None of the typical Carrey wackiness are apparent. He plays a blacklisted writer, who after an accident, loses his memory driving through a small seaside community. The townsfolk suspect that he is one of their own, a young soldier who was reported Killed In Action during World War II.
Martin Landau is the owner of the dilapidated theater of the title who is convinced the writer is his son. Whether he is or not remains to be seen. The town (along with the theater) is rejuvenated by reclaiming him. This story wistfully frames the town in a seemingly innocent, bygone era light and has a rhapsodized take on the Hollywood blacklists.
The cast is stellar, featuring many of Darabont’s regulars. The late, great James Whitmore plays one of the townsfolk. He plays a character that ushers in the beginnings of a change for Carrey’s character. Whitmore had somewhat of a career resurgance at the end of his life. He reminded me of people I’ve known in my own life. His voice and his mannerisms were distinctive and he could tell a good story. I was a fan.
Other members of the director’s circle with fellow King collaborator Jeffrey DeMunn and the lovely Laurie Holden. I liked her a whole lot more here than in the Walking Dead or the Mist. She doesn’t have a huge part (Carrey is burdened with most of the load in the film), but is more than just the love interest.
It is a long drama at two and a half hours. It’s not a comedy or an action film, so some may find it slow. I myself think that its one of the best films of the early 2000s. At times it’s also much too idealistic and preachy, but after multiple viewings I still find it enthralling.
4.5 of 5 whatevers.