Film: Of Mice and Men

Cast includes: Gary Sinise (Forest Gump), John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons)
Direction: Gary Sinise (Miles from Home)
Genre: Drama, based on the 1965 John Steinbeck novel (1992)

In brief: “When I think of the swell time I could have without you, I go nuts,” George laments in a weak moment. “You want me to go off?” Lennie asks. George knows that Lennie will never survive on his own; that’s why they travel together. George made a promise to Lennie’s Aunt Clara. Earning a living as a ranch hand in the 1930s would have been hard enough, but when you’re constantly on the run, it just makes life that much harder. At their last place there was an incident with a beautiful young woman, and the pair barely managed to escape with the law hot on their tail. But someday things will be better, and Lennie loves it when George tells him about how things will be… especially when he gets to “the part about the rabbits.” Lennie’s going to take care of the rabbits… they’re better than mice because Lennie can pet them without killing them… in theory.

When they get to Tyler Ranch, George reminds Lennie about all the things he’s not suppose to do or say… the things that have gotten Lennie in trouble before. “I ain’t saying he’s bright, but he’s a damn good worker,” George tells the owner. Lennie is big, and he’s strong enough to do the work of two ranch hands. George reminds Lennie what to do in case there is trouble. And it’s a good thing because before long, we see that trouble is unavoidable… the owner’s son is an evil son of a bitch, and his beautiful wife is very unhappy. George works hard at keeping Lennie out of trouble… “no rabbits” if Lennie gets in trouble. But George knows there’s more at stake than just rabbits.

Of Mice and Men is a classic novel that's often required reading in schools. As a modern-day tragedy, it’s almost in a class of its own. At a point when Gary Sinise’s career was at a low point, he bought the movie rights and directed it himself… casting himself in the lead. He cast John Malkovich as Lennie, even though Malkovich is not as impressively large as described in the book. The acting is pitch-perfect, and the production has all the essentials with nothing extraneous or distracting. Even though you know it’s not going to have a feel-good ending, it’s hard not to become emotionally invested in this amazing American classic.

popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

An excellent production with great acting; it does justice to a classic story

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