I know we’re supposed to remember Hal Holbrook for his portrayal of Mark Twain during the six-decade run of his one-man stage show—or even for playing Deep Throat in All the President’s Men—but when I learned that Holbrook died a couple of weeks ago, all I could think of was Into the Wild, the 2007 film based on Jon Krakauer’s book of the same name.
The missus and I rewatched the movie over the weekend. And the two scenes that still bring a tear to my eye are due entirely to Holbrook’s performance as the lonely widower Ron Franz. Here’s one of them:
If you’ve not seen the film, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Great acting, brilliant direction, beautiful cinematography, and, as if all that isn’t enough, some truly great songs performed by Eddie Vedder.
As for the story itself, forget what you may have heard—particularly from those who seem intent on deliberately missing the point—and watch it because it’s, as Anthony Sacramone once suggested, “a prose poem on the beauty of life for its own sake, despite its pain and disappointments” and “a poignant plea for humility and forgiveness.”