Nobody's Fool [1994]

Director: Various
Stars: Various
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 110 minutes

"Worn to perfection" is the tag line promoting this crafted character study. It describes Paul Newman, the resourceful 70-year-old lead actor, but not his character, Sully, a North Bath, New York, loner who totally emulates the negative definition of the title. Newman gives a brilliant performance (Oscar-nominated and winner of two critics circle awards) relying on his well-honed subtleties. The dramatics are simple: the return of his son (Dylan Walsh) and grandson, offering a chance to reconcile; odd jobs for a construction company he's trying to sue for an injury; and a comedic grudge match against the owner (a reserved Bruce Willis). North Bath is the kind of place, wrapped in winter (beautifully shot by John Bailey), where enemies are friends, marriages are shaky, and Hawaii is only a state of mind. This "town drama" of a blue-collar America offers the patient filmgoer a rich and rewarding experience. Another small gem from writer-director Robert Benton (Places in the Heart). --Doug Thomas

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