The Majestic
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Ralph Nelson

The Majestic is an old fashion movie, set in a small northern California coastal town in 1951. The town of Lawson lost 62 of their sons during WWII and the town’s people are lost in a grief that is too enormous to shake.

Enter Jim Carrey who plays a Hollywood screenwriter (Peter Appleton) who was recently targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for suspected Communist leanings. After plunging into a coastal river, the current takes him out to sea and he wakes up the next morning on a Lawson beach. He remembers nothing of his past life, but everyone he meets in the town of Lawson finds something familiar about him. Then Harry Trimble (Martin Landau) recognizes him as his son Luke who had been listed missing in action soon after the beginning of WWII. Of course Appleton only bore a strong resemblance to Harry’s son Luke, but Harry’s and the town’s need for something good to happen far outweighed any doubts they may have, and Appleton is welcomed as one of Lawson’s long lost sons.

Without one shot being fired or one scene of fighting during WWII, The Majestic is first and foremost a war story focusing in on what the soldiers in the field and their families at home suffered for the sake of freedom. But there are many wonderful stories within that story. There are several love stories that develop including Appleton’s growing love for the man who believes he is his son and Adele Stanton’s (Laurie Holden) love for the man she believes to be her old boyfriend Luke. There’s also an old fashion story of how movies have shaped America. When Harry talks about the old movie theater he used to run, his eyes light up like a child under a Christmas tree. When Adele first talks to the new Luke, she’s amazed that his amnesia prevents him from remembering anything about his life, but he remembers lines from old movies and what stars said them.

With excellent acting by the entire cast, there are many magical elements in this film that makes it a winner for its holiday season opening. This is a very different part for Jim Carrey, showing his shy, more serious side and demonstrating his versatility as an actor. Though there is a formula film at the root of this story, juxtaposing the glitter of Hollywood with the more down to earth happiness of living in a small town, it’s a proven formula that adds to all the other positive stories within this film. All in all, it’s a story we all need more of, as Harry would say – a story where the good guy wins.

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