It’s summer in the 1960s in this heartwarming drama, and 14-year-old Walter (Haley Joel Osment) realizes his self-absorbed mom, Mae (Kyra Sedgwick), has lied to him again. She tells Walter he is to spend the summer with his rich, eccentric great-uncles while she goes to court reporter school. She drives out to her uncles’ dilapidated country farmhouse, announcing Walter’s visit. Before Garth and Hub (Michael Caine and Robert Duvall) can put down their shotguns, Mae has dumped Walter and his suitcase and sped away in a cloud of West Texas dust. By the time Mae returns at the end of summer with a new boyfriend, Walter has completely changed from a shy, lonely boy into a fun-loving adolescent who dearly loves his uncles. They have entertained him with colorful tales of their younger days in the French Foreign Legion, indulged him with a pet lion and taught him that wealth and power are unimportant. With three outstanding actors and a wonderful story, “Secondhand Lions” will bring some tears and lots of laughter to ages 8 and older.
This is a wonderful family film and New Line is to be commended. There are many times where they could have wondered off into non family-friendly territory, but they did not. They took the high road in this superb film about getting older, finding usefulness in old age and in believing in people.
Walter, a young boy with a lying, self-centered mother, is suddenly thrust upon two old geezers, his uncles, to live for the summer. Walter’s mom tells him that she is enrolled in court reporting school, but is discovered to be yet another lie in a lifetime of lies she has told the boy. This is a touching tale of two old men finding purpose in life through taking care of their nephew, and the nephew finding hope in life through believing in his two eccentric, and very rich uncles.
Michael Caine and Robert Duvall excel in their portrayal of two over-the-hill men who have lived very full and fulfilling lives in their youth, but now find it difficult to find any meaning in their dull lives. The only excitement they really have is sitting on the front porch shooting their shotguns at traveling salesmen. That is until Walter shows up and changes everything.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film from beginning to end. It has everything that family audiences have wanted in a film, but Hollywood has been hesitant to give it to us. An exciting, well-written, well-acted film without graphic sex, language, violence, nudity and drugs that is fun to watch. Well-done New Line. If you want family entertainment then this is the film for you!