Secondhand Lions (2003)

logoDirector: Tim McCanlies

Writer: Tim McCanlies (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Haley Joel Osment, Kyra Sedgwick, Nicky Katt, Josh Lucas, Michael O’Neill


Plot: A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Wonderful Coming of age tale


Story: Secondhand Lions starts by with Garth (Caine) and Hub (Duvall) flying their plane around the countryside before a grown up Walter (Lucas) receiving a phone call about this. Walter goes into flashback mode to when he was pre-teen boy (Osment), Walter gets left with Garth and Hub by his mother Mae (Sedgwick) while she chases her dreams. She does have an alternative motive because rumour is that they have a lot of money hidden away.

The ranch the men live on is filled with farm animals and constantly pestered by salesmen who each receive warning shots. Walter tries to learn more about his great uncles but they are very secretive, after Walter learns that his mother has actually lied about her location he is left with the men who keep him around because other relatives don’t like him there. Hub has a habit of sleep walking which gives Garth a chance to tell the stories to Walter about their journeys involving lost love and untold riches.

Between the parts of the story we learn about the bonding between the three as they continue to invest in random products including a second hand lion which becomes a part of the ranch. When the time finally comes for Walter to leave after he learns about his Uncle’s secret he is left wanting to stay with them, Garth and Hub also want him to stay because of the attachment they have got over the time. Walter gets his wish and stays with his Uncle’s to become his own success but he always wondered about the stories being true until the day they died.

Secondhand Lions puts us into a coming of age tale that is really something very simple to follow but also very effective. It shows that you don’t need something fantasy driven you just need to teach a kid how to live correctly, fight for what is right and believe in true love. A lot of these types of stories end up coming off a dark moment changing the life but this almost reverse the idea of the dark entry into the friendship turning into a blossoming realisation that you could achieve anything, if you believe. I did like how the tales are told to make you wonder what is true or not, but I didn’t like how the end is too obvious. (8/10)


Actor Review


Michael Caine: Garth the friendlier of the two brothers who tells the story about who they were as younger men. He is also the smarter of the two who knows when to let Hub do what he wants but also protect when needed. Michael gives a good performance showing that he will always have the mentoring side to his skills. (7/10)


Robert Duvall: Hub the tougher brother who was once known as a great warrior in Africa while trying to save his princess, now in his old age he is bitter to everyone who come near his life but he grows fond of Walter. Robert gives a good performance in a role that you could see a lot of conflict heroes feeling in their old age. (7/10)


Haley Joel Osment: Walter young boy who is dumped of at his estranged uncles house while his mother tries to follow a career, he finds out he has been abandoned there but the longer he spends there the more loved he feels for the first time in his life. Haley continued to show what a talented actor he was with his performance. (8/10)


Support Cast: Secondhand Lions has a supporting cast of travelling salesmen, family that keep pestering the Uncles and the people from the stories that are bought to life through the tales of Garth but adventures of Hub.


Director Review: Tim McCanlies – Tim gives us one of the best coming of age tales in recent years and one that will stick with you for years. (8/10)


Comedy: Secondhand Lions isn’t a full blown comedy it will have plenty of moments that will make you laugh, most because of Hub’s reaction to anything. (8/10)

Family: Secondhand Lions is one that the whole family could enjoy because it is told in a simple way and could easily be followed. (8/10)

Settings: Secondhand Lions creates to main settings the ranch where Walter grows up and the land that young Garth and Hub had their own adventure. They both work to show how far you can go in life. (9/10)

Suggestion: Secondhand Lions is one that I would suggest to anyone to watch this one. (Watch)


Best Part: Keeping the lion.

Worst Part: The new boyfriend.

Funniest Scene: The fight between Hub and some teenagers.


Believability: While the coming of age on the farm could well be true the story behind it isn’t. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: You might have a few by the end. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $48 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes


Overall: A coming of age tale that shows just how easy life can be when you are fighting for love, honour and respect.

Rating 83


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