Best Grownup Love Story
Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson, The Last Kiss
You might have skipped this one; the trailers focused totally on the onscreen romance of young stars Zach Braff and Jacinda Barrett, ignoring the rich relationship of Danner and Wilkinson as Barrett's character's parents, whose marriage seems to be in deep trouble—she's been having an affair. Be advised: this is a mature-themed film that treats temptation honestly—so when their daughter's boyfriend stumbles into infidelity, too, each parent has a heart-to-heart with one of the twenty-somethings, conferring deep, lived wisdom about long-term love and loyalty that only real grownups can have earned.
Runners-up: Louise Fletcher and Donald Sutherland, Aurora Borealis She's given her life to care for her ailing husband; he'd do anything to give her a life of her own…Sally Kellerman and Len Cariou, Boynton Beach Club He's endearingly nervous and she's yearning for affection in this touching version of love at 60-plus…Kristin Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson, Keeping Mum The preacher has forgotten to minister to his wife, and she's looking for love with a golf pro. It takes a murderous mom and the Song of Solomon to reunite them… Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, The Painted Veil They're a little young, but their sad drift apart and unexpected rediscovery of each other trace the arc of many a grownup love story.
Best Movie Time Capsule
Hollywoodland, production design by Leslie McDonald
Take any frame of the richly textured Hollywoodland and you are immersed in the clothes, cars, and atmosphere of the 1950s. But at its heart Hollywoodland, the story of the mysterious death of TV Superman star George Reeves, reverberates with that 1950s sense of a nation holding its breath before its next great leap into the future—and the first hint that the optimism may be tinged with disappointment and unexpected tragedy.
Runners-up: Bobby Sideburns and protest songs abound, but it’s the hopes and anxieties of the characters that capture the essence of America on the night RFK was shot…Flags of Our Fathers All but lost to popular history, the national fatigue that threatened U.S. involvement in World War II dominates the home-front half of Clint Eastwood's epic…Glory Road Imagine, if you can, a world where African Americans were a rarity in college hoops…The Queen The decade since Di's death melts away.
Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up
Lassie, directed by Charles Sturridge
Who'd have expected the best family film of the summer would also be one of the best films of the year? In a season of overwritten superheroes and gimmicky thrills, Lassie charmed and delighted, thanks not only to one well-trained pooch but also to an inspired cast, including the aristocratic-but-rascally Peter O’Toole and the wonderfully understated Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent). With its epic scope and intimate character studies, Lassie saved us all from a deep, dark well of summer mediocrity. Now we know how Timmy felt.
Runners-up: Charlotte’s Web Engaging, funny, and sad, it's exquisitely faithful to E.B. White's book. As Charlotte's voice, Julia Roberts spins a web of warm reassurance…Nacho Libre Jack Black’s wrestling padre is joyously adolescent and contagiously optimistic…Nanny McPhee As a gnarly nanny, Emma Thompson proves that if you wait long enough, inner beauty will always show itself…Night at the Museum Frantic, funny, and a great motivator to get kids interested in visiting a real museum. Mickey Rooney, of all people, is a hoot as a pugnacious night watchman.