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The Majestic (2001) - Movie Review

The Majestic movie poster

I’ve said for years that if I ever won a substantial amount of money on the lottery I’d love to buy a struggling cinema and breathe new life into it.


The cinema in my home town was thankfully re-opened after being closed for some years and it’s great to see it doing so well whenever I go back there to visit family.


Why am I talking about renovating old cinemas? Because thats exactly what happens in this criminally underrated movie that I re-watched last week.


The Majestic (2001)


It’s funny how some films seem to go unnoticed or just fade from people’s memories. Sometimes it can be for the best, but other times it can be a real tragedy. In this case it’s the latter, and I think I know why this movie doesn’t get the credit it deserves…


If you haven’t seen it, it’s an emotional drama directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile), starring Jim Carrey (The Truman Show), Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), Martin Landau (Sleepy Hollow) and David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H) among many others.


This is what it’s about according to the internet:


“Rising Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton (Carrey) is blacklisted in the early 1950s Red Scare. Following a drunken car accident, he wakes with amnesia near the small town of Lawson, California, where the residents mistake him for Luke Trimble, a local boy declared missing in action during World War II. As Peter helps Luke's father (Landau) and high school sweetheart (Holden) reopen the town's sole movie theater, questions arise about his true identity and motivations.”


[If you weren’t aware, a Red Scare is a “form of moral panic provoked by fear of the rise, supposed or real, of leftist ideologies in a society, especially communism.”]: Wikipedia.



It seems like not every comic actor can successfully make the transition from comedy to drama. Some have managed it perfectly, with the likes of Tom Hanks and Robin Williams being two of the prime examples.


Jim Carrey, as we know is famous for his outlandish comedy style and larger-than-life characters, but when it comes to drama, as good as his acting chops might be we just don’t seem to want to accept him play it straight. And I think that’s one of the reasons this film doesn’t hold the kind of status I feel it should. It’s a real shame too because he’s really good in it.


Another reason I think this movie gets a bit overlooked is because of the films the director made before it. Expectation and comparing a movie to a filmmaker’s previous work can often affect our enjoyment of it, or simply change the way we view it.


When you put this movie up against Frank Darabont’s previous two films, The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999) there’s really no comparison, but is it even fair to compare them since they’re not only completely different movies in terms of genre, but the previous two were written by Stephen King, and The Majestic wasn’t.



Despite what critics and the like think, this film is definitely worth a watch. Jim Carrey does a great job in one of his first non-comedy roles and he’s helped along with it every step of the way by a brilliant supporting cast (some of whom you will have seen in some of Frank Darabont’s other movies and TV series’ like The Walking Dead).


The film is set in the 1950s and it feels totally authentic. From the way it looks, the music and the hair styles and costumes, to the genuine feeling of community in the town. You really do buy into the idea that these are real people living in a much simpler, and dare I say "nicer" time.


The heartwarming story keeps you invested right up till the end and has you wondering at times whether Carrey’s character, Peter Appleton could actually be Luke Trimble, one of many sons of the town of Lawson who were lost to the Second World War. It’s the characters though, i.e. the inhabitants of the town, and the way Peter Appleton’s sudden appearance there gives them hope and brings the community together that makes this movie so enjoyable.



Although full of heart and often emotional, this is a feel good film, but one with an important message. It’s about standing up to bullies (in this case the United States Government) and about standing up for what’s right despite the cost. I dare anyone not to get a lump in their throat watching it.


The Majestic might’ve flopped at the box office, as well as receiving mixed to negative reviews when it was first released, but thankfully over the years it’s gained some much deserved appreciation from people who have seen it. It’s just a shame that it stands in the shadows of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.


If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend tracking it down and giving it a watch (you can find it on Amazon Prime Video).


If you have seen it let me know what you think in the comments.

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1 comentario


Kile Drooms
Kile Drooms
03 mar

Hi! When we were all working remotely, I used to watch a lot of old films that I still had on DVD. Unfortunately I don't have a DVD player anymore, but not so long ago I wanted to revisit "Majestic" and went looking for information on how to convert dvd on a mac, well google and youtube are full of information about it, so I converted the dvd file to mp4 without any problems and enjoyed watching old movies!

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