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An Unfinished Life: Movie Review

Updated on February 8, 2018

This movie was released in 2005 and is definitely worth watching. An Unfinished Life is set on a ranch in Wyoming although it was filmed in Canada. I enjoy movies like this that are shot in the outdoors and have a story to tell.

It stars Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lopez, Damian Lewis and Becca Gardner. It was directed by Lasse Hallstrom and is adapted from the novel by Mark Spragg.

Einor (Robert Redford) and a disabled ranch hand Mitch (Morgan Freeman) are living on Einor's Ranch. A year before Mitch was injured by a bear which had got hold of a calf, and is now being taken care of by Einor. At the time of the incident Einor was drunk and was unable to protect Mitch from the bears attack. Mitch who now walks with a cane is still in pain and Einor gives him food and morphine injections as well as being a companion to him.

The bear returns to wander about in the area. Sheriff Crane Curtis (played by Josh Lucas) has the bear captured and puts him in the town zoo.

Unexpectedly Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and her 11 year old daughter Griff (Becca Gardner) arrive to come and stay with Jeans father in law, Einor. Einor's son Griffin (Trevor Moss) who had moved away and married Jean was killed in a motor car accident years before; Einor believes Jean was responsible for his death; this causes tension in the family. Both Einor and Jean, still grieving Griffin's death visit his grave site on the ranch. Einor apears to be despondent at times.

Jean, who has had a string of unsuccessful relationships, currently has an abusive boyfriend, Gary (played by Damian Lewis). However she falls in love with sheriff Crane Curtis; Griff her daughter can't accept Crane completely.

Jean finds work at a local coffee shop and befriends another waitress, Nina (played by Camryn Manheim). The story starts to takes shape; while there is a lot more to it, what occurs next affects the events that follow.

Gary arrives looking for Jean; there is a confrontation between him and Einor.

Einor wants his daughter to tell him how Griffin had died. She tells him that on the night of the accident they had flipped a coin to see who was to drive next. Jean lost and she takes the drivers seat at 3 AM for the last leg of their journey. She falls asleep at the wheel, the car flips over six times and Griffin dies in the accident. She survives the accident, then discovers she is pregnant with Griff.

The following morning Jean and Griff leave but Griff runs back to the ranch on her own where she learns how to do ranch work.

Mitch wants Einor to set the bear free; he does this but gets hurt in the process and must spend some time in hospital. Jean visits him and they try to reconcile. Einor invites his daughter and granddaughter to come and live with him again.

Mitch has a rather surreal meeting with the bear that had mauled him about a year before; it does not attack him again but runs off into to the mountains.

Gary tries one more time to get Jean and Griff back but Einor beats him up and puts him on a bus out of town.

The movie ends with Mitch telling Einor of his dreams of flying above the earth and getting to understand life. The life of Einor's son Griffin is unfinished due to his untimely death, but in a sense all the main actors lives are unfinished until matters are resolved when Gary, Jeans abusive boyfriend is sent packing by Einor and the bear heads for the hills. They all get to live together in peace at at last. Mitch still has to live with his painful wounds and it's his life that has really been most adversely affected, yet he remains optimistic.

I've given an outline of the movie here, but you will see there's more to it if you watch it yourself.

I found this movie intriguing, absorbing and well worth seeing.

Comments Welcome

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    • Dave Lynch profile imageAUTHOR

      David Edward Lynch 

      6 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @anonymous: Thank you for your comments, I have seen the movie a couple of times.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      David, That was a great review. The short movie clip is inviting too. I always love the movies that Morgan Freeman plays in. He is an awesome talent. Jennifer Lopez and Robert Redford also are terrific! I am not familiar with Josh Lucas, though. Sounds like something to put on my list of movies to see.

    • Dave Lynch profile imageAUTHOR

      David Edward Lynch 

      6 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @mel-kav: Thanks for your comment, I think the movie is worth seeing.

    • mel-kav profile image


      6 years ago

      Looks like a great movie with a great cast. I love Josh Lucas. I am going to have to see this movie.

    • Dave Lynch profile imageAUTHOR

      David Edward Lynch 

      6 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Joebeducci: Thanks for the Squidlike & comment, Stay well, David

    • Joebeducci profile image


      6 years ago

      Looks very good, nice review! Greets, Joebeducci


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