Spring Forward 

Director: Tom Gilroy
Screenwriters: Tom Gilroy

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


Spring Forward is a profound character study that is a tribute not only to its writer/director, Tom Gilroy, but also to the superb performances of Liev Schreiber and Ned Beatty. Paul is new on the job. Just out from a stint in prison for armed robbery, he is determined to turn his life around. He is paired with old-timer Murphy, a patient man possessing his own brand of gruff wisdom. Almost comically at first, the two begin the task of becoming a team, going about their job of keeping the city parks clean. Although unlikely candidates for friendship, they build a bond that will affect each of their lives.

Gilroy is a filmmaker who possesses an almost uncanny understanding of human nature. He tells a story not just by what the characters say but by their silences. Beatty and Schreiber mine each moment for subtle nuance. Each scene is like a jewel; when strung together, they make something beautiful and lasting. Suddenly, the random nuggets of dialogue, odd stories, and old confessions sneak up on you, delivering an emotional wallop. Spring Forward was shot over the course of a year, and the changing seasons are crucial not only in creating the reality of their job but also as a metaphor for emotional growth.

There is something intrinsically American about this film, but it’s not the America we usually see on movie screens; it’s the America that exists in our souls. In representing men whose actions speak louder than words, Spring Forward says plenty.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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