The Judge tells the age old story of the child who leaves the place where he grew up to return at the sudden death of his mother. Robert Downey, Jr. plays that son to the Robert Duvall's hard father. We've seen this before in many movies. The acting and writing revives the familiar story.
I do love these stories. The redemption, the reconciling, the realization where you came from isn't that bad. I can easily see West Middlesex or Emporium, especially when these stories are set in small town Midwest America, which they usually are. Seems to never be ones where the rebellious kid grows up in New York City, wanting to escape the grit and grime, then returns from the farmlands, loving the city after all.
This story, though, maintains interest in the family. Like layers of an onion, it peels and peels to get to the core. Never quite sure where the twist is and why there is such animosity between the Judge and his top lawyer son, and the ache he caused the old girlfriend and the brothers. Lives have been wrecked. It kept my interest.
A trial ensues in the courtroom, too. Movies seem to like that. They reference Atticus Finch, from one of the most famous trial movies in small town life. As many trials as I have seen and sitting on a jury, I still sometimes have problems following the drama. I wrote a trial in Last Free Exit, but I know I'll have to do rewrites. I marvel at the photography that adds to the hot summer mood in The Judge.
The green of summer, the waterfalls over a dam in the girlfriend's restaurant, the huge rambling house that isn't home beautiful on the inside and the streets of the town provide background for the movie. I love the one scene with rain, because I could feel the summer in it. I'm missing summer rain.
The ending doesn't really tell the ending. Life is like that. Story continues. We really don't know what the son decides as he stands in the empty courtroom. But I feel whatever he decides will work. I don't think he goes back to Chicago with his small daughter.
The feel of this movie inspires me in my writing. I loved the layers. I look to my husband and if he can't predict what is going to happen and the plot keeps his interest, I see the movie as a success. I crave to write those kind of stories, that keep interest with characters that aren't stale. I'm thinking of the story I'm writing now. Amy grows complex as I continue. She is unlike anyone I actually know and I thought of her as I watched the movie last night. You'll meet her soon.
I also have a deadline for Wednesday afternoon for The Way It Was. I've been gathering information. I'll write it today and edit over the next few days. I'm excited about this story, too. I wish my physical body would catch up to my desires. One more day of antibiotics and vacation. Warm sunshine could boost all this along. Maybe next month. For now, I push through enjoying a movie that keeps me thinking.