The Majestic review by David Richards
I had forgotten how movies sometimes give us morals. They are the films that leave us with something to think about after we leave the theatre.
It's not a must-thing for a picture to have, but sometimes it packs a punch, and as far as The Majestic goes, it makes all the difference.
Jim Carrey stars in his first dramatic role since The Truman Show in this casually paced, but effective film about one man's fight to regain his memory.
Carrey stars as a 1950's Hollywood screenwriter named Peter Appleton, who accidentally drives his car off a bridge, falls into a river and washes up onto land somewhere near the northern California town of Lawson.
The citizens of Lawson are in about as poor a shape as the confused and now amnesia-stricken Appleton. More than 60 of the town's residents have been lost to WWII and that loss has taken its toll. By the looks and feel of the town, one might have guessed it was filmed during the depression.
Hope comes by way of Appleton, though, who gets mistaken for a fallen war hero and Lawson-native named Luke Trimble.
By the reaction of the town to Appleton, you can tell that Trimble was well thought of, even martyr-like, to this small community. When Appleton is first recognized as Luke, you can see the town start to smile again, as well as laugh.
Everything is fine in Lawson now, for awhile anyway.
Luke's father, Harry (Martin Landau), is so excited about the return of his son, that he's inspired to re-open his formally shut-down movie theatre known as The Majestic.
Luke also had a girlfriend back in Lawson named Adele (Laurie Holden), and she and Appleton try to pick up where they left off, even though Appleton doesn't remember a thing.
As time moves along, Appleton's memory starts to clear. He remembers that he was a successful screenwriter and when authorities come to look for him, he realizes that he's been blacklisted and accused of being a member of the Communist party.
At the end of the film, after Appleton is taken into custody, he is forced to defend himself and his rights and does so by being inspired by the fallen war hero Luke Trimble. It illustrates how meaningful even one person can be to so many people.
With The Majestic, Carrey proves that he is not a one-dimensional actor.
This is a good role for him, one he does a lot with, although it is a role that many actors could have played.
The Majestic is one of the year's very best films because it's not about how one character is the hero of the story, it's about how one character becomes the hero in the story, and that in itself is what makes the film stand far above many of those in 2001.
****The Majestic is rated PG for language and mild thematic elements.