About Schmidt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I am in the midst of a blossoming midlife crisis.This is depressing, considering that I'm only 15. I feel old, displaced ... outof touch with today's rising generation ... but then, of course, I just watched"About Schmidt," an uplifting tale of middle-class American blanknessenacted by Jack Nicholson.

I decided to see the movie on the advice of afriend, but five minutes into it I was bored. Then I realized I was 30 minutesinto it and hadn't noticed how the time had flown. Unfortunately, when the themesof monotony and the dreariness of mundane life aren't being marched (albeitskillfully) across the screen, they are replaced by painful, almost adolescent,moments of discomfiture as Schmidt makes yet another mistake.

Although mypeer had been kind enough to observe that no one under 50 actually saw"About Schmidt" in theaters, there is a decidedly adolescent theme tothe movie. Schmidt is growing out of selfishness, his childishly irksomeuncertainty with the state of retired life burgeoning into scalpel-sharpself-searching.

Despite his blossoming understanding, Schmidt, far fromgaining hope, rapidly becomes hopeless in his feeling of his total lack of impacton the world and prepares to die. His immaturity is illustrated clearly in hisletters to Ndugu, the African child he's sponsoring; Schmidt finds meaning in hislife realizing that he has permanently changed Ndugu's future.

I am mostcertainly not against what Schmidt has done - on the contrary, I intend to do thesame when I have an income other than my paltry allowance - but what's wrong isthat Schmidt isn't helping Ndugu, he's using him to feel better abouthimself.

I identify with Schmidt, but I can't say I agree with the pointof this movie. It is a beautifully created illustration of a man flounderingthrough growing up after retirement, but the hope he finds through Ndugu isunrealistic. If he finds his own life pointless because of its flaws, how can heexpect Ndugu to grow up any better? Perhaps for him, the chance that Ndugu couldbe different is enough to create hope ... but I don't see why Ndugu would be freeof exactly the same flaws as his sponsor.

I expect more of Jack Nicholson.I expect him to be part of a movie that is more than just a shameless commercialfor sponsoring children. I have lost some of my respect for Nicholson, who hasalways questioned society to heal its faults. On the other hand, the only othermovie of his I've seen while drifting through the years of adolescent ignorancehas been "Batman." So all I can actually say is, "nicecommercial."



This movie is rated R.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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