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Beautifully done!
tesscat30 November 1999
How often are we forced to endure the uninsightful changes that are made to American classics in the process of turning them into feature films? The 1939 version of this movie is a prime example. It, very simply, was not the story that Steinbeck wrote. The changes that were made were too sweeping to be seen as anything other than some ego thinking that Steinbeck could be improved upon.

Now, anyone who is truly familiar with Steinbeck knows that this is just not true. Gary Sinise has proven this familiarity. I have rarely had the pleasure of watching a movie that stayed so completely true to the original text. Not only does this movie not add or subtract from the book, the characters themselves are almost exactly how I had pictured them when I read this story for the first time.

If you are looking for overblown sex and violence, for spectacular special effects, or for unbelievable demonstrations raw physical strength, move on. This movie will not interest you in the slightest. However, if you are looking for a story of true love and true courage, if you are looking for a movie whose beauty stems from a raw sense of humanity, then find yourself a quiet place, where you won't be interrupted and watch this. You won't be let down.
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This one will touch you...
joseph t21 January 2002
This is a masterful and faithful portrayal of Steinbeck's classic novel. The screenplay brings to life the tragic yet uplifting story of loyalty and the kind of bond that can grow between men that we are often reluctant to acknowledge, much less show.

Aside from the story, the cast is what really makes this film. I have always held a soft spot for Gary Sinise after his role in Forrest Gump, wherein his character portrayed another facet of the bonding between men made brothers by cruel circumstance, yet can grow and flourish as the years and other circumstances come to pass. Here, as Lenny's friend and protector against a world that baffles and confuses him, he shows the kind of rough-edged tenderness and affection that both endears us to his plight, and fills us with the dread of what we know must come between the men. John Malkovich shows his depth as an actor by bringing to life the dull-witted but pure-hearted Lenny, in a way that will tug at your heartstrings. I found myself both laughing (in a sad way) at Lenny's ineptness in dealing with a world clearly more confusing than his limited wits can manage, and crying over his being targeted for taunting and abuse by cruel and crude men, and ultimately done in by his brute strength when it was lacking the direction and temper given by his friend George.

A pleasant surprise was Ray Walston as the aged but gentle and good-hearted ranch hand Candy, who has no one in life to love but his old sheepdog, who, like him, he knows, must ultimately be "put down" because of age and the wear and tear that a life of hard labor has worn down. The scene of his finally surrendering his faithful canine companion to be euthanized by a gunshot to the back of the head by another well-meaning field hand is very heartbreaking. Having grown up with the "Uncle Martin" of "My Favorite Martian" Walston, seeing his adept performance in a dramatic role gave me a new appreciation for his versatility as a character actor.

Those who watch this film should allow plenty of time alone to view it straight through with no interruptions. Swallow your pride and keep a box of tissues handy, and some time afterwards for quiet contemplation and "recovery".
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Tell me about the rabbits, George...
Junker-225 March 2000
I put off watching this movie for many years. I figured, what was the point? I had read the book "Of Mice and Men", watched earlier movie versions and seen it performed on stage. Why sit through yet another version? Finally one day at the video rental store I decided to take a chance and rent it. I am very, very glad I did.

So why sit through another version? Because it is extremely well done. Gary Sinise and John Malkovich are powerful in the leads, Sherilyn Fenn has never been more appealing and Ray Walston will break your heart.

This is just plain good storytelling and good movie making. I guess like Lennie never getting tired of hearing George talk about the rabbits, I'll never get tired of seeing a good version of this classic story.
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A gentle hand makes a powerful punch.
ellusion2 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
A gentle hand makes a powerful punch. And I'm not talking about Lenny, but Gary Sinise. I'm not quite sure why this one of the most powerful adaptations from a book. Perhaps the steps from book to play to screenplay gave it enough time to find it's pace and voice.

I would have loved to have seen it on the stage with the same cast. Absolutely wonderful. I even have a new found respect for Ms. Finn. The two leads are exceptional, but I expected that, it was the easy grace of all the characters becoming alive that moved me.

The book is a great book, but I always thought the other characters were just too shallow. Gary Sinise and the supporting cast breathe a life into these people. You've met them before. Been fishing with them. Fought with them. Just a Wonderful film. I hear a lot of talk about "chick flicks". Well, this very much may be a "dick flick" if they exist. Every real man should see this movie.

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jamie_7120 April 2000
Warning: Spoilers
It took me forever to get ahold of this movie. I had waited 2 weeks for it to be returned to the movie store. I waited four hours until the man brought it back to make sure I got it. Wow was it worth waiting for! I have not seen any movies lately that were so full of heart and love. Sinise and Malkovich BOTH play amazing roles in this film. I've seen it 5 times and everytime I cried at the dramatic ending. It shows how cruel and yet how loving people can be. This movie has a great mix of everything I think anyone could enjoy. I cannot believe I had never heard of this film before looking up info on Gary Sinise. This film should be a classic. The acting is superb and it holds your attention throughout the whole movie. I LOVE this movie incredibly!! Definitely a 10 out of 10!
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Should be shown in EVERY h.s. lit class
pettyfog21 May 2000
If ever a movie lived up to a standard of literature for the contemporary American art form, this is it. When you watch this you'll be stunned at how easy it should be to adapt a novel .. but it's seldom done right. You'll NEVER find a truer adaptation than this.. in fact you'll swear it's not "adapted" at all.

Everyone else in this group has already given the accolades. I second them.
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Better than I expected
mikemahony29 January 2001
I simply rented this movie to get a head start in my english class. I heard we are reading this book, so I rented the movie to have the edge over my classmates who know nothing of it yet. "HA HA HA" I thought now I will be smarter.

However, going into the film thinking this was going to be a dull boring movie was not what happened. This is a great movie from beginning to powerful end and I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to give drama movies a chance.

Gary Sinise directed John Stienbecks novel perfectly. The story is about two men, one not so bright, and their search for work in the depression. Simple but wonderful.

7.6 out of ten as an average seems too low for all the good comments about this movie.

A Must See 9/10
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A brilliant vision
oshram-313 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Most of you are probably familiar with the plot from when this book was forced upon you in high school; George and Lenny are wandering laborers in the 20s/30s. George is a pretty sharp guy, but Lenny is mentally handicapped; a giant of a man, he is a phenomenal worker, but his mental and emotional shortcomings continually land the two men in hot water. When they end up at a particular ranch in Salinas, the men encounter trouble that no amount of running away will solve.

Steinbeck's book is particularly depressing (as I find the works of many early 20th century American authors to be), and the movie captures that exceptionally, without making it a depressing experience to view. Steinbeck's themes of loneliness, of the harshness of life, of how unfair things can be, are all carried over into the film adroitly; but Sinise manages to capture the beautiful California landscape, and in particular that golden sunlight, to at least add a veneer of beauty to the disheartening proceedings.

The acting is uniformly excellent here. Sinise's George is world-weary, cautious, and protective of Lenny; he understands his burden fully and as in the book curses his relationship with Lenny even while we know it is an obligation he will never willingly forsake. The bit parts are all fine as well, with Sherilyn Fenn playing Curley's Wife to perfection; Ray Walston is wonderfully low-key as the lonely, used-up Candy; and Joe Morton as Crook only gets one scene, but he runs the gamut from anger to fear to camaraderie and loneliness, shifting effortlessly in the space of a few minutes. But really, even with all the fine performances, the movie is Malkovitch's. I've never been a huge fan of his work, but he is perfect here as Lenny; he captures the man's childlike worldview, his instant joy in small things, his fear of being stranded by George, and even Lenny's anger just perfectly. Watching Malkovich in this movie is watching a master at the top of his craft; Lenny instantly catches the viewer's sympathy, and Malkovich makes it obvious why George is both irritated by and yet loves the big lunk.

The last scene (I won't spoil it, in case you have forgotten or never read it) is one of the classics of cinema, I feel. The emotion is so powerful, yet so subtly played by both actors; you know what must happen, what George must do, and yet, even as he steels himself to the task, we can see how difficult it is for him. At one point Senise bows his head, eyes screwed shut, on Malkovich's shoulder; this small gesture speaks volumes about the bond between the two men, about everything that Steinbeck was trying to say about love and friendship, and loneliness. It sums up the whole book, the whole film, in an instant. Simply put, this is a brilliant adaptation, well worth your time to investigate.
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...and a hutch full of rabbits
dbdumonteil10 September 2004
"Of mice and men" is one of these movies we definitely need in our times.Gary Sinise 's directing is classic in the noblest sense of the term.The cinematography recalls some of those Ford (who adapted "Grapes of wrath",another Steinbeck's novel for the screen) gems of the forties or fifties.It is heart-rending to see Malkovich and his portrayal of the half-wit is one of the finest you can see in a nineties movies and leaves,for instance Dustin Hoffman's "rain man" character far behind.It takes a lot of guts to play such demeaning parts !Gary Sinise should not be forgotten either,in a performance which offers all the subtleties of the heart.

What moves me in the movie is the loneliness which frightens the characters .Everyone is searching for someone to rely on.Not only the two heroes (I think that ,actually, George needs more Lennie than the other way about)but also the old man -the scene with the old dog is almost unbearable;it will have an equivalent in a terrifying way at the end recalling Horace MacCoy's "they shoot horses don't they?"- Curley's wife;only the black guy has resigned himself to solitude.The scene when Candy and the two pals are talking of their future house -which we know from the very start they'll never have- is really heartwarming.At least,for one precious and fleeting moment,they could dream of a home,a fireplace and a hutch full of rabbits.
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A Beautifully Rendered Mutilation of Curley's Wife
MHeying77727 December 2011
Warning, I'm a Steinbeck purist.

I loved this film. I even arm-twisted my two pre-teen/teenaged daughters to go with me. For the closing scene I left my chair, went to the back and cried, even though I knew what was coming.

The acting, the sets/props, the cinematography were all outstanding, sometimes brilliant. The only problem was the script--Curley's wife was softened, made into a victim instead of Steinbeck's brilliantly conceived and rendered cruel, cynical female villain. All that work, the craft, sweat and tears it took for him to create her, mutilated for the sake of profit.

But this is nothing new. Every stage and screen interpretation of OMM has done the same thing. Why? Money, of course. Women make up the majority of moviegoers (and an even larger majority of movie-going decision-making). What producer has the courage to offend a predominately female audience?

Well, American BEAUTY didn't do so badly.

It is well known that Elaine Steinbeck lobbied John to allow the Curley's wife character to be softened. She was trained in theater. She wanted the stage and film versions to be a "success."

Well, just once I'd like to see Curley's wife depicted just as John created her. Especially the scene where she barges in to Crooks' room and calls him "N****" repeatedly and threatens him with lynching.

It's cultural self-deception to pretend that women can't be just as nasty as men. Are all you producers cowards or what?

(Kudos to Ken Wales and Jane Seymour for going the distance with EAST OF EDEN!)
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Great from a cinematic standpoint, Not too shabby from a Literary
bwianiscool1315 September 2005
First off, the acting in this movie is incredible. It's funny how someone as intellectual and bright as Malkovich can pull his role off so well. Gary Sinese was great too, effectively portraying George.

But if you really get into the book, the movie doesn't follow it too faithfully. Curely's wife is portrayed to be flirty, and a "tart," when in the book, she was just as lonely as everyone else on the ranch. She wasn't looking for sex, she was looking for companionship. The screenwriter didn't interpret the book quite as well as I had hoped.

Now I'm just nitpicking, but when when Lennie pulls the stunt by faking the puppy, it's just not like him. Lennie is not clever at all, and wouldn't think to do that.

But all in all, great movie, definitely great for comparing to the book in a lit. class or anywhere.

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The only movie I know that follows the book to a "T"
bradencn3 December 2018
If you are looking for a movie that has every scene, every character, and every part of the plot that is exactly accurate to the book, you have found it in this film. It was absolutely incredible to watch one of my favorite books come to life.

Well, well done.
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Great dramatisation of a very great classic
nicksuess10 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Let's start out by saying that I am a huge Steinbeck fan. I have read just about all of his work, and many books several times over. I have visited his family home and the museum to him in Salinas, and also Monterey and Cannery Row on three occasions, and that's a long way from Australia.

So I expect a lot from any dramatisation of a Steinbeck novel, and I found it with this movie. I missed it at the time of its release, principally due to my own personal dramas way back then, and had forgotten all about it until I saw it in the list of movies on a long-haul flight this week, so I had to see it.

Of course I knew everything that was going to happen, but the movie led me carefully along that path, and each phase was revealed with due finesse, perhaps most of all the story of Candy's dog, which was acted with such brilliance.

Unlike the rather sad American woman who reviewed it on here as "terrible" simply because it didn't have a happy ending (and I have ticked "spoiler alert" just in case that gives anything away - and she even criticised Steinbeck for not writing a novel which ended in "happy ever after") I think it came close enough to perfection for ten points.
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Great except for Malkovich
panicwatcher14 September 2003
This movie has a good script, fine acting, and is beautifully photographed. Even though I had read the book and knew the plot, I was drawn into story and moved by the ending. Gary Sinise does a very good job of showing what a complicated and conflicted character George is. George seems to be a smart man, but he has not gotten far in life. He feels the need to watch out for his closest friend, Lenny. But, you sense that George sometimes thinks Lenny is a burden and George feels guilty about those thoughts. This might be Gary Sinise's best acting performance.

I was disappointed in John Malkovich's over-the-top portrayal of Lenny. In the book, I felt that Lenny was just very simple minded, but in the movie version, Lenny seems to be seriously retarded. The Malkovich Lenny has too many odd facial expressions and a speaking style that is like a cartoon parody Lenny. That performance was distracting and irritating and made Lenny less sympathetic. It also changed the relationship with George. It makes George more of a nursemaid to seriously ill Lenny, instead of a helpful friend who watches out for Lenny.
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Worth watching. Once
eyesour26 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
It must be at least 50 years since I read Steinbeck's novella, and it stays with one. But there is still something off-putting about it, and I don't think I ever re-read it. I don't think I'll be re-watching this movie, either. Yes, both story and movie are moving and touching. They are also highly depressing, and have a sort of ugly fascination about them, rather than being enjoyable or impressive.

This film adaptation is very faithful, if I remember the original rightly, although there may be a few adjustments here and there. Someone else has mentioned, however, that Malkovich doesn't seem quite right as the big lunk-head. He's too intelligent, and it's permanently distracting to watch him act dumb. This Lennie just isn't fully credible, and I kept catching myself distancing myself from the performance, watching it in a sort of bemused way. What was this man's mental age meant to be? I have a six year old grandson who is way brighter: Lennie seemed to have a mental age of about 2 and a half. At the same time it was all too obvious that Malkovich has an IQ well above average. He was just pretending, and that's not good acting. Also, I don't believe he's really that big and strong, and I kept asking myself how the visual appearance was being manipulated. I just knew he didn't have the strength not to know what it was. It was not convincing, though I can't think who would have been better. Primo Carnera would have been good, but he wasn't available. Same goes for the guy who played Moose Malloy to Mitchum's Philip Marlowe.

It is understandable that this effort was respected by critics, but I can't see it being recommended from one average viewer to another, and it's equally understandable that it bombed at the box-office. Now I feel just like George after he shot Lennie.
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Amazing movie adaptation of a great book
JuguAbraham27 May 2005
Often a movie is associated with its actors or its director. I would associate this film more with Horton Foote the brilliant scriptwriter, who sculpted the script from a great book by a formidable author, John Steinbeck.

When I read Steinbeck's book I was in awe of the author's powerful strokes of simplicity. Adapting the book into a screenplay can be formidable. Foote did it earlier with Harper Lee's novel "To kill a Mockingbird". He did it again in Beresford's "Tender Mercies". Some of the flashes of brilliance in the script are the opening sequence of the woman running scared into the camera, the opening and closing images of light falling on the dark insides of a train car, the empty bus ride that Steinbeck did not present. Director Gary Sinise and Foote made the adaptation of the novel on screen look easier by adding details just as scriptwriter Robert Bolt and director David Lean did the opposite by compressing the details with Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago". Both "Dr Zhivago" and "Of Mice and Men" are great examples of adapting literary works for the screen.

This is not to discount the contribution of Gary Sinise. Director Sinise and Actor Sinise were admirable. The former brought out the finest in the latter. This is Sinise's finest performance.

Malkovich is a talented actor--he commands attention. Whether a more restrained performance was called for or not is debatable.

Equally stunning is the film's music by Mark Isham--the man who grabbed my attention in "Never Cry Wolf", "Mrs Soffel" and "A Midnight Clear". Sinise was wise using the music effectively when required and not overdoing it to evoke pathos. The music doesn't sooth you, it nudges you to reflect on life.

The film is a great essay on loneliness. Most importantly, it is a great example of how a literary work ought to be adapted without changing the author's vision. Remarkably, the film added more to Steinbeck's work with the train ride and the bus ride. That's Foote!
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A emotional, heart breaking film
IDanceWithFishes20 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A marvellous film, with stunning acting and heart wrenching scenes. Everyone was excellent, and the scene at the end when Geroge had to shoot Lennie tore at the heart strings. A LOT. My teacher was in a puddle.

A fantastic script, very well done and compulsive make this a real must see. Lennie is portrayed awfully well, with Geroge giving a believable performance as his long suffering partner. WATCH THIS FILM. There is much more to it then can ever meet the eye, and this film is a true work of art...so is the book, which I suggest reading first. A real emotional ride, and some scenes...such as the ending scene, where we are given a glimpse of their past happiness together...and Lennie reaching up to touch Geroge's clothes. I think I was gone.
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A touching and well acted adaptation
eddie_baggins8 June 2016
It's never an easy task tackling an adaptation of a famed novel and revered writer John Steinbeck's oft talked about and well-loved title from 1937 Of Mice and Men is a risky proposition for the big screen with its deep themes, hard hitting examination of human nature and multilayered characters but all the way back in 1992 actor/director Gary Sinise (a face still perhaps best known from Forrest Gump and now sadly the TV series CSI: NY) alongside John Malkovich, helped turn Steinbeck's source material into a drama filled with heart, soul and against all odds, humour.

Sinise's masterstroke of casting himself into the lead role of caring soul George Milton who takes ownership of Malkovich's hulking yet handicapped Lennie in the farming plains of America in the late 1920's/early 1930's helps bring Steinbeck's words to life with the two unlikely comrades enacting a banter and chemistry between each other that quickly brings the viewer into their worlds, both through the eyes of the driven George and the child like Lennie, who in many ways is but a small child trapped in the body of a stronger than he knows adult who's main concern is getting a puppy or tending to rabbits when indeed every day of his existence is threatened from more than one angle.

Through these two fine actors we have access to two men we come to care for and relate to, Sinise has arguably never been better even though his role requires little flash while Malkovich's considered and measured turn as Lennie is quite the feat, which makes the fact his turn was largely ignored upon release quite mystifying. The two are ably supported by fine turns from side players Ray Walston as the aging yet loving Candy, Sherilyn Flynn as the hard done by wife of a farm owners son and farm hand Slim played by John Terry. With the actors on song in front of the camera, Sinise shows sufficient craftsmanship behind the camera while screenwriter Horton Foote delivers a hearty dose of emotional heft in a script jam packed with delivery of human kindness and the tough decisions that sometimes need to be made despite the hardship it will no doubt offer in the short-term.

A fulfilling and quietly powerful adaptation of a loaded novel, Of Mice and Men stands up well against the test of time and makes one wish Sinise had in the years proceeding this film's release gone onto more memorable ventures behind the camera as well as in front of it and while the tricky subject matters may not be classed as entertainment in the typical sense, Of Mice and Men is a quality title deserving of its fine reputation by those that have discovered it as the years progress.

4 dirty overalls out of 5
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What do you Suppose is Eatin them two guys?
blee113417 March 2003
(I know I didn't get the exact quote from the book) But thats my favorite line from the entire book, so I was upset to see the movie may have skipped over it.

I hate to read. I've never found a book I enjoyed, but Steinbecks "Of Mice and Men" was something I really couldn't find myself putting down. It was incredibly entertaining from cover to cover. I actually cared for George and Lennie. Now the movie...It really wasn't half bad. I usually only enjoy comedy films, so sitting through this one does say something. Sinise was very good at George. Malkovich was also very good as Lennie. Now, people in other comments complain about Malkovich. I really didn't like how Lennie was seen in the film, but Malkovich is not at fault for that. I really doubt he wasn't told to act like he had Downs or something like that, so when you consider how real it was seeing act as if he had downs, he really was great in this film. Anyways...I really thought of Lennie as a normal guy just very slow, not stuttering and childish sounding. Another gripe of the film I have was Curley's wife. I understand that they couldn't have the scene with Crooks and her saying she'd get him hanged because people nowadays would have a cow over it, but something could have been a substitute for that. I feel Steinbeck really didn't want readers to know if they should feel bad for Curley's wife or hate her guts, but in the movie there really wasn't anything to hate her for. I think the friendship of George and Lennie could have been shown more. Sure, they talk about George and Lennie being different having eachother and all, but it really was a big deal in those times to have someone by your side like they did, but the film kinda played it off into more of a 'George takes care of Lennie' type thing

All in all, I must say the movie wasn't half bad. If you read the book I think the movie is a must
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A parable of friendship with dark undertones
StevePulaski15 December 2011
John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men is a misunderstood literary work of art. Because of its simple nature, many people don't look at it with a very broad focus. But who could blame them? It's a pamphlet at a little more than a hundred pages and doesn't boast its explicit and controversial nature. The novel is basically reiterating Steinbeck's biased opinions of communism and how the common-man will never succeed because of roadside distractions.

This marks the third time this book has been adapted into a film, and the first time one has went theatrical. Gary Sinise's direction utilizes the ranch scenery not as a backdrop or a postcard, but to enhance the film and its overall look. Every bit is utilized and the scenic shots never seem intrusive or unwelcome. Sinise's direction is complimented by the writing from the amazing Horton Foote, who also wrote the screenplay to the 1962 adaptation of Lee Harper's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The script is done with piercing accuracy to its book counterpart and doesn't adds or subtract anything from the novel, leaving it as Sinise's original intentions.

The story is simplicity itself following the lives of charismatic and intelligent George (Sinise) and strong but slow Lennie (Malkovich) who are wonderful when side-by-side but incomplete on their own. It's The Great Depression era where everything comes in limits, and George and Lennie are migrant workers traveling from ranch to ranch seeking any kind of work and pay.

They stumble upon Tyler Ranch, where they run into a barrage of unique characters like the elderly ranch-hand Candy (Walston), the pugnacious and easily-provoked tough guy Curley (Siemaszko) and his skimpy wife (Fenn) who remains nameless like in the novel. Soft-spoken Slim (Terry), blunt and confident Carlson (Riehle), and the hunchback stable-buck Crooks (Morton).

George and Lennie desire to fulfill their simple goal of owning a farm, a home, chickens, and don't forget the rabbits Lennie so eagerly anticipates. But financial and social setbacks have been coming in their path left and right. They work their feet into the ground to be rewarded with aches and trouble, which is what The Great Depression era was mainly composed of.

Gary Sinise plays an amazing George, and John Malkovich tackles the difficult role of Lennie efficiently. It's very challenging to put yourself into a character who isn't all there but isn't entirely what people would consider normal. Malkovich's physical appearance is pitch perfect, but he shows a struggle to remain in character and in his boundaries at times. The supporting cast is fantastic, especially Ray Walston as Candy and Sherilyn Fenn as Curley's wife.

Like I stated before, the dialog is so on-par with Steinbeck's original masterpiece it's astounding. When comparing any movie to a book, people usually utter the misleading phrase "the movie wasn't as good as the book." You're comparing two different beasts. A film can never be all of the book, and what they did to Of Mice and Men was truly an amazement. They managed to create a film that left in mostly all of the subtleties of the original novel. Not only is it a rarity, but it's a true sign of respect for original source material.

When George and Lennie talk to each other an on-screen spark ignites. The two characters, even in the novel, had inseparable chemistry together and it's incredibly difficult not to feel some emotion for them after the long road they've been on.

Of Mice and Men is an extraordinary book and a film full of grace and charisma. It provided me with one of the more joyous experiences from such a sad film mainly because the actors are all blessed with beautifully written material and engulfing scenery. But I guess the real question we're left with is who is going to live off the fatta the land and tend all of those rabbits. Perhaps George will know the answer.

Starring: Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, Ray Walston, Casey Siemaszko, Sherilyn Fenn, John Terry, Richard Riehle, Joe Morton, and Noble Willingham.
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"There ain't many guys travel around together. I don't know why. Maybe everybody in the whole damn world's scared of each other."
ackstasis14 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
John Steinbeck's novel 'Of Mice and Men' is, along with his fellow masterpiece 'The Grapes of Wrath,' a classic of twentieth century literature. Brilliantly evoking time and place, Steinbeck masterfully recounted the tragic tale of George and Lennie, two friends who travel together and look out for each other during the Great Depression.

Two-time director Gary Sinise (most popularly known for his memorable supporting role in 1994's 'Forrest Gump') has stated that 'Of Mice and Men' is his all-time favourite novel, and that he'd always wanted to adapt it to the screen. Sinise's respect for the work is clearly evident throughout the film, and screenwriter Horton Foote doesn't stray too far from the original story, nor does he overlook many vital plot points.

George Milton (Gary Sinise) is a small but quick-witted farm labourer. He'd be doing considerably well for himself, but for his self-appointed obligation to look after Lennie Small (John Malkovich), a slow-minded giant. Lennie is a fine worker, but his insatiable, child-like curiosity often gets him into trouble, especially when he underestimates him own strength. After Lennie unintentionally harasses a women (because he was compelled to feel her beautiful red dress), he and George escape persecution and strike out – yet again – for new employment.

Their search leads them to the Tyler Ranch, where they meet up with a whole new range of diverse characters, including the withered, one-handed old swamper named Candy (Ray Walston) and his equally withered dog, the kind-hearted Slim (John Terry), the crooked-backed African American stable boy, Crooks (Joe Morton), the easily-aggravated boss' son, Curley (Casey Siemaszko) and Curley's lonely and largely-ignored wife, who symbolically remains unnamed (Sherilyn Fenn). Each of these characters is well-acted by a strong supporting cast, and each of their qualities contribute significantly to the richness of the story.

George often speaks about how Lennie is holding him back, but we can see that he generally enjoys his company. On most nights, Lennie insists that George recite a well-rehearsed speech about how lucky they are to have each other, culminating in a brilliantly evocative description of the "little house and a couple of acres" they are to purchase, in which they "live off the fatta the land" and Lennie will "tend to the rabbits" by feeding them freshly-grown alfalfa.

"Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world... They ain't got no family and they don't belong no place. They got nothing' to look ahead to... Well, we ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody cares."

"But not us, George, because I... see, I got you look after me, but you got me look after you."

This is one of the most beautiful and touching friendships ever committed to screen, and we can almost see them succeeding in their goal, tending to their own farms as free men. Alas, John Steinbeck was not a writer known for his happy endings, and his heartbreaking conclusion has been translated well into the film. But perhaps the ending was slightly more optimistic than we initially think. They may not achieve their dream of living together on their own property, but neither of them have anything more to worry them. And that's all they really wanted.
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good movie,but i thought the original was a bit better
disdressed1228 April 2008
this almost exactly the same as the original 1939 version,yet i found it a bit slow and not quite as compelling.Gary Sinise directed and stars in the movie,along with John Malkovich.Sinise is very good as Gary,one half of a drifter duo,who travel the countryside looking for work and trying too stay out of trouble.Malkovich is mesmerizing in the role of Lenny the large man with the intellect of a child.Lenny is the reason they must keep moving.Gary tires to keep him out of trouble,but when that fails,they must movie on.i found this version lighter in tone than the original,but again,it is also tragic,just like the original.it's a good movie,but i just didn't like it as much as the original.for me,Of Mice and Men is an 8/10
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Very good
Smells_Like_Cheese3 December 2003
"Of Mice and Men" is one of my all time favorite books. I read it in high school and it was the first book I had a major interest in and read again and again after we finished it. The friendship of Lennie and George is so strong and inspiring. I think that's a reason I loved it, because my best friend and I could relate. We'd do anything for each other just like George would do for Lennie.

The performances are jaw dropping good and I loved Gary Senise as George and John Malkovich as Lennie. You know that they started out in the Chicago theaters together first? Sorry, my Chicago pride slips in sometimes. John does something a little different with Lennie from the original black and white version and gives him more of a disgruntled voice with a lisp that sounds close to a child's. In some ways that was a good idea, because Lennie thinks like a child in some ways. But it wasn't that needed, Lennie was just a mentally challenged man, not speeched impaired.

The plot is that Lennie and George are always on the run. Lennie always gets George in trouble because Lennie just doesn't know any better. Even though Lennie doesn't give George a break on life, you can tell he cares for him deeply and takes care of him. They go to a farm that is owned by Curly, played by Casey Siemaszko, to work for money and a place to live. They make friends with an elderly man, Candy who isn't well respected. He has an old dog with him that everyone is telling him to shoot because he's getting to old, and this was symbolic of what Candy was feeling, like just because the dog's old and useless, they should just get rid of him. When George, Lennie, and Candy are talking one night they talk about their dreams of going away to a potato field with rabbits for Lennie. This is it, they are going to go live their dreams. But when a flirty girl who happens to be Curly's wife keeps on going around the boys, she happens go to Lennie next where something terrible happens leading Lennie and George on the run again to an extremely powerful ending.

This is a great movie and should be shown to everyone. I'm very serious on that because it has such a powerful message of strong friendship and loyalty. There are great performances and a great setting. I think John Steinbeck would be proud!

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Did Gary Sinise write the book?
MonDePlume20 October 2004
Did Gary Sinise write the book?

No. Of course he didn't. But as director and actor, he pulled off a masterpiece with this movie.

I have only one criticism: as good an actor as John Malkovich is, he's not Lenny Small. My choice for the role, and there's only one, would have been Bill Fagerbakke (Tom Cullen, in Stephen King's "The Stand" [and most recently the voice of Patrick, in Spongebob Squarepants]).

But that's minor. Gary Sinise did Steinbeck justice. He had the real handle on the story, took George and made him visible.

It's one of the few books-turned-into-movies that stands as an equal to the original. View it. And view it again.
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Not Good
ashowen17 February 2006
I enjoyed the book Of Mice and Men very much, however this film does not live up to any of the drama and emotion of the book. The screenplay is weak and the acting is terrible. The accent given to Lennie in the movie does not match at all with how it is written by Steinbeck. Gary Sinise's role as George was not believable, and Curley's Wife was some of the worst acting I have ever seen on film. The film was poorly thought out and poorly directed. Its lack of change in camera shots and the extremely slow and boring screenplay did not interest me at all. Lennie's voice was enough to make me want to shoot him in the first scene. It was so annoying, unlike the possibly lovable voice that Steinbeck gives to him in the book. Although it follows the book's plot closely, it is just a bad movie.
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