Nobody's Fool Robert Benton

Paul Newman plays Sully, a loser grandfather in New York State who makes amends with his estranged son who moves into town. At the same time, Sully battles his crude boss Carl (Bruce Willis), flirts with Carl's wife (Melanie Griffith) and cares for his fragile landlady (Jessica Tandy in one of her last roles), whose son tries to evict Sully from her life. Sully tries bonding with his son. In the most moving scene, Sully shows him the inside of the ramshackle old house where he grew up. Sully recalls the battles he fought with his own dad, an alcoholic who literally used to toss him around the room in a rage. This is a simple story of a bad man trying to make good, made all the more poignant by the aging Newman (69 when this film was released in 1994). In an unglamorous role, Newman's performance ranks with his best work (The Hustler, The Sting, The Verdict) and is worth the price of admission alone. Newman makes the dislikeable Sully sympathetic without polishing his flaws. The supporting cast is strong. Surprisingly, Willis plays against his macho man persona with the insensitive Carl. Writer and director Robert Benton (Bonnie and Clyde, Kramer vs. Kramer) adapts Robert Russo's novel with great attention paid to characterisation and nuance. However, in the end this is Newman's movie. Sully is in almost every scene and we both love him and hate him. Plus: none. (Paramount)