Nobody's Fool

1994

Nobody's Fool

Critics Consensus

It's solidly directed by Robert Benton and stacked with fine performances from an impressive cast, but above all, Nobody's Fool is a showcase for some of Paul Newman's best late-period work.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 54

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,509
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Movie Info

Paul Newman earned an Oscar nomination (and won citations from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Berlin International Film Festival) for his performance in this well-drawn comedy-drama. Sully (Newman) is a 60-year-old man who emotionally seems to have never quite emerged from adolescence; scraping by on part-time work in construction, Sully has built a life around avoiding responsibility. He hasn't spoken with his ex-wife (Elizabeth Wilson) in years, he lives in a rooming house owned by his eighth-grade teacher Mrs. Beryl (Jessica Tandy), his best friend is a mildly retarded handyman, Rub (Pruitt Taylor Vince), and he has a crush on Toby (Melanie Griffith), who is half his age and married to Carl (Bruce Willis), who sometimes gives him work. One day, Sully nearly runs into his son Peter (Dylan Walsh) and discovers that he has a grandson he never knew about; for the first time, Sully finds himself thinking that he ought to start behaving like a grown-up -- or at least get to know his family before it's too late. Nobody's Fool also features Gene Saks as Sully's lawyer Wirf, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the overly-enthusiastic Officer Raymer.

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Critic Reviews for Nobody's Fool

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (5)

  • The movie is both a star vehicle and an ensemble piece; the other actors revolve around Newman yet give off more than just his reflected light.

    Oct 29, 2013
  • We love to see our movie gods play flawed souls, especially a god with a face that looks like one on a Roman coin.

    Oct 29, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Moviegoing holds few pleasures greater than watching an established star completely inhabit a role that exactly suits his personality and abilities. And seeing Paul Newman in Nobody's Fool defines that pleasure.

    Oct 29, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Nobody's Fool is funny at times and as cuddly as an old teddy bear. But this movie is being taken far too seriously in some circles.

    Oct 29, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • While watching Robert Benton's sublime adaptation of Richard Russo's novel, it's hard to avoid the realization that movies like this have become an endangered species.

    Oct 29, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • The principal pleasure of this film directed by Robert Benton is that its characters are carefully drawn and developed rather than applied like so many decals on a two- dimensional wintry landscape.

    Oct 29, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Nobody's Fool

  • Jan 23, 2014
    A showcase for an aging Newman, the film is witty at times but pandering at others. It can't decide whether it is serious or light and does both half right.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2011
    Its mostly your standard "stubborn old coot undergoes a paradigm shift" film but Paul Newman's immersion in the character is noteworthy, it never becomes gimmicky or a caricature.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 11, 2010
    A film that reminds you that it’s the small thing that you do in life that define your passage through this world. The tone of this film is similar to Gran Torino but more family small town and homey feel. Despite his unappreciated status in a small upstate New York town Newman’s character has a great affect on the day to day lives of this very close-knit and interconnected town. At the age when most people his age are retired he’s divorced and still doing odd-job carpentry. Enter his son who is an associate college professor and two disfunctioning sons. He wants his sons to meet there grandfather and openly expresses his discontentment of how poor of a father Newman was when he was growing-up. He returns later and explains he’s no longer employed, his marriage is on rocky ground. He works for Newman to make some money to tide his family by and develops a greater understanding for his father. There are many well developed characters in this movie Bruce Willis plays the contractor who hires Newman for odd jobs. Willis has a heart condition but it does not keep him from philandering with his secretary and drinking and smoking. His wife is Melanie Griffith. And for those interested in seeing here breast here is your chance. Phillip Seymour Hoffman makes an appearance early in his career as Officer Raymour. The scene when Hoffman and Newman are called into Judges chamber is one of the most memorable scenes. The Judge in response to Hoffman firing a warning shot at Newman retorts: “You know how I feel about arming idiots, if you arm one you have to arm them all, Otherwise it not fair sport.” I highly recommend watching this movie, If you like it watch it once a year as a way of staying grounded
    Bill C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2009
    Damn Im impressed.This movie was REALLY Good!!! Paul Newman was great
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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