Though this bittersweet story languished foolishly on the shelf after a Sundance premiere, and limited theatrical release two years ago, it is finally available on video.
Reviewed by Maya Churi, Fri., Oct. 11, 2002
SPRING FORWARD (1999)
D: Tom Gilroy; with Ned Beatty, Liev Schreiber, Campbell Scott, Ian Hart, Peri Gilpin.
Tom Gilroy's Spring Forward takes an intimate look at what it means to be raised male in a society that consistently tells its boys that they have to be tough, unsympathetic, and successful. Though this bittersweet story languished foolishly on the shelf after a Sundance premiere and limited theatrical release two years ago, it is finally available on video. Structured as a series of conversations that take place over the course of four seasons, Spring Forward gives the audience a peek into the lives of two city parks workers, played beautifully by Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber, as they meet, become friends, and Beatty ultimately retires. During the conversations we learn about the incarcerations, disappointments, and tragedies that have befallen these two men. Their struggles to understand themselves and how they fit into the world are full of sad yet humorous anecdotes that both men and women can relate to. But the slow pace of the film makes it a tough sell. One has to sit through many moments in which the conversation gives way to long silences. But, if patient, one will discover that the silences are more telling than any words could possibly be. In his book Middlemarch, George Eliot wrote "the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs." This sums up Spring Forward perfectly.