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About Schmidt Review

Updated on June 21, 2020

About Schmidt (2003) review

This was a simple movie, which was a nice change of pace. The twilight years of life can be a scary thing, and this film explored what it is like to think that all your best days are behind you. This was a great film, although it was a little depressing. It takes a great actor like Jack to pull off a moody, pessimistic character and make him loveable. This was a very entertaining story and the contrasts between characters made this story even more delightful.


About Schmidt (2003) was very loosely based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Louis Begley. It was written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor and directed by Alexander Payne. It stars Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Hope Davis and Dermot Mulroney. Warren Schmidt (Nicholson) has retired from a long career in the insurance business. Days after he retires, his wife passes away very suddenly, leaving him alone. His only child Jeannie (Davis) is getting ready to marry a man a few states away. Warren decides to take a trip in his camper and revisit some old memories, and hopefully stop his daughter from marrying a guy he thinks isn’t good enough for her.


This film shows that you are never too old to re-evaluate your life. Jack Nicholson is one of my favorite actors of all time, and he shines once again in this performance. This was a great character piece about a man dealing with the last leg of his life and the changes that come with time. I enjoyed the road trip segment of the movie and Warren's adventures along the way, as narrated by his frequent letters to his overseas pen pal.

The contrast between Warren and his soon-to-be in laws brought a lot of laughs during the last act of the film. Kathy Bates gives a stellar performance and creates some awkward moments that are delightfully unbearable. Warren was definitely not used to people being this open.


This was an all around good movie, but it was a little depressing. Don’t expect some big happy ending for good old Warren, this movie stays closer to real life. It is a great, entertaining story though and I would recommend it to anyone who is a Nicholson fan or any father with a daughter around dating age.

Cast trivia

  • Melissa Hanna (Dairy Queen employee) is an employee of the Dairy Queen in Omaha, Nebraska where her scenes were filmed.
  • Other actors were also in the movie, but were cut before release. These were Tim Driscoll (grocery store manager) and Jeff Morris (farmer at gas station).
  • Thomas Haden Church was originally considered for Randall.
  • Shirley Jones was considered for the role of Roberta Hertzel.
  • When Jack Nicholson met writer and director Alexander Payne to discuss the role, Payne had a one-sentence directive for him. It was "Jack, I want you to play a small man."
  • Payne said the only actor he had in mind for the role of Warren was Nicholson, and he was going to do whatever he could to convince him to work on this movie.
  • Alexander Payne didn't meet source novel writer Louis Begley until the movie's premiere.




production trivia

  • About Schmidt had a 30 million dollar budget and the worldwide Gross is 105.8 million dollars.
  • The movie was filmed in Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa.
  • About Schmidt was theatrically released by New Line Cinema on December 13, 2002.
  • Nicholson was nominated for and Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
  • Scenes that take place at the University of Kansas were actually shot at the University of Nebraska.
  • The production crew created a lifetime Endowed Scholarship for the real-life Ndugu (Abdallah Mtulu) through the real Childreach Organization.
  • The plot involves the children's charity "Childreach". Since 2002, the year of the movie's release, the organization has referenced this movie and featured its poster in its literature for prospective child sponsors.

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