My Favorite Character (Holly Schindler)

My favorite Paul Newman movie is Nobody's Fool.


It's a book, too--but my experience is with the movie.

The movie is quiet, seemingly only about a man in his--let's say mid sixties or so--who has been a disappointment to everyone in his life. Really, you shouldn't like Sully (Newman's character) much. He'd walked out on a young family, had never been there much for his own kid, and had bummed around his entire adult life, refusing to commit to anything. Not a relationship or career or even himself. He's worked day jobs and been cantankerous and unreliable. 

And yet...

There's just something about him. Of course, Paul Newman is the master at drawing you in long enough to give old Sully a shot. But he does have potential, as we quickly realize.

My favorite scene is a simple one between Newman and Jessica Tandy in which she asks him (yet again) if he wants a cup of tea. Like usual, he says, "Not now, not ever." Tandy says, "Well, everyone changes their mind at some point. I keep thinking you will." Newman gets this completely shocked look on his face and says, "Do you, now." After all of the disappointments, she still thinks he'll come around. 

Come around he does. Rather than being about a fast-paced external journey, this is a journey of a man who finally comes into his own--becomes a father to his son late in life, becomes a friend, and begins to think of the people around him before he considers himself. The man who could never be relied on is now relied on in some way by every single person in the town

The last scene has Newman sitting on a couch sleeping with a "broken" former guard dog. The symbolism is that he's "broken" too. He's softened, he's opened up. He's become a fully realized person. 

Nobody's Fool proves character development can absolutely drive a story. And in the end, (as far as I'm concerned), it's a far more satisfying journey than a flashy, action-oriented story.


Holly Schindler is the author of the YA A Blue So Dark.


  1. Great movie recommendation, thanks!

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  6. Never heard of this movie, but now I want to see it.


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