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  • Writer's pictureThe Screen Room

Forever Young (1992)

Forever Young movie poster Mel Gibson

I watched a film at the weekend that I’ve had a real urge to watch again for a while. It’s been years since I last watched it and as a result, I think I fell in love with it all over again.

Forever Young (1992)

If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a highly enjoyable sci-fi/romantic drama and a really great blast from the past!

It’s directed by Steve Miner (Halloween: H20, Lake Placid) and stars Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Joe Morton (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) among many others.

I was really surprised to learn that the screenplay was written by none other than J.J. Abrams (who went by the name Jeffrey Abrams back then) from an original story called “The Rest of Daniel”.

This is what it’s about:

In 1939 after his true love, Helen (Isabel Glasser) is involved in an accident and falls into a coma, test pilot Daniel McCormick (Gibson) volunteers to be cryogenically frozen for one year in a military experiment conducted by his friend Harry Finley (George Wendt). However, a series of mishaps result in McCormick being all but forgotten for 53 years until he’s accidentally awoken by two young boys who think his cryogenic chamber is a miniature submarine.

Mel Gibson Forever Young screencap

I love this film! I used to watch it a lot in my teens when I had it on VHS (that was a great time for movies!)

It was never one of Mel Gibson’s bigger movies but sadly over the years it seems to have been forgotten about, or at least buried beneath some of his more successful films like Lethal Weapon, Mad Max and Braveheart. It’s such a shame because it’s a really enjoyable and heartwarming watch.

If you’re a soppy git like me you’ll love the story. It’s so tragic but beautiful at the same time.

Mel Gibson (who apparently turned down the chance to direct) is brilliant as Daniel, and brings a real innocent charm to the character that makes it easy to buy into the notion that he’s from a completely different era. You also genuinely feel his loss and sadness which makes for some extremely emotional scenes - one of which being when he revisits the diner where he last spoke to Helen. Despite the two having surprisingly few scenes together in the movie their love story feels really authentic.

This was actually the first thing I remember seeing Elijah Wood in (not including Back to the Future Part II) and it was clear all the way back then that he had something special. He’s brilliant in this film, and at just 11 years old not only brings a bit of comedy to the story but also steals most of the scenes he’s in.

Jamie Lee Curtis who plays his character’s mum, Claire is, as you’d expect her usual brilliant self - this time playing a softer, more down to earth role than in some of her other movies.

The scene where Daniel comes to her rescue when her drunk ex-boyfriend turns up is one of my favourites in the movie. I love their chemistry, although I do really feel for her love interest, John (Nicolas Surovy) at times who clearly feels threatened by Daniel’s sudden appearance in her life.

Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis in Forever Young movie

Fun fact: This time around I noticed a very young Walton Goggins who plays the barrier guard at the military facility. He and Mel Gibson would go on to star in the Christmas action thriller, Fatman (2020) together.

One thing that absolutely makes this film for me is the musical score by Gerry Goldsmith. It’s superb!

Watching it the other night I realised how today’s film composers rarely write memorable “themes” in their scores these days. This film has a beautiful theme which when used in certain scenes really pulls on the heart strings. Add to that the theme song, “The Very Thought of You” by Billie Holiday and you’ve got one of my favourite film soundtracks of the 90s. In fact, as I sit here writing this I’m listening to it having just bought it from the iTunes Store for £8.99.

Mel Gibson and Elijah Wood in Forever Young movie

This is a gorgeously touching tale of love, loss, sacrifice and friendship that will melt even the hardest heart (providing you’ve got one of course). It’s also a wonderful throwback to those great 90s movies that just seem so effortlessly entertaining against some of the stuff we get today.

If you somehow missed this one among Mel Gibson’s more prominent films I highly recommend giving it a watch. You can find it to rent, or buy and keep on Sky TV and Amazon Prime Video.

Seen it? Let me know what you think in the comments.


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