By chance, this is the only hyped movie I didn’t get to see--until yesterday. It’s easily the best movie of the year, or maybe the last several years. There’s more about the strengths and weaknesses of our country as it once was and now is than in all the Oscar nominees put together. There’s also more about the proper relationship between the real, lonely, and judgmental inwardness of a real (wounded) man and the loving realism of (tough) real woman than almost any movie I’ve ever seen. The most hilarious scenes are about the Eastwood character teaching a shy Hmong young man with promise how to talk--with profane and politically incorrect affection--like a real American man. The movie is genuinely multicultural insofar as it shows that true virtue makes possible kinships that transcend profound cultural differences. It’s also "multicultural" in the sense that it causes us to reflect on the violence we did to our admirable and very traditional allies we abandoned (the Hmong) by forcing them, quite abruptly, to take up residence in some of the most decadent and dangerous places in our country. It’s also very pto-Catholic; one of the heroes is a priest who looks like a boy but (with some help) acts like the best of men (while still believing in sacred promises and the power of sacraments). And the Eastwood character (who believed, like a warrior, that religion is all about fooling credulous women) confesses to the boy priest who earned his admiration and is saying the Hail Mary at the hour of his sacrificial death (an unarmed warrior dying to make men--his friends--free). That this movie gives a much deeper and more convincing analysis of the American 1950s than REVOLUTIONARY ROAD goes without saying. There’s depravity portrayed realistically in this movie--but always for a reason.