Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton, a staff writer at HHS Studios in 1951, is an ambitious up-and-comer. His first produced screenplay, a B movie swashbuckler entitled "Sand Pirates of the Sahara," has just opened on a double bill with John Huston's adventure, "The African Queen," at Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Not only is Appleton enjoying professional success, he has a hot starlet girlfriend, Sandra Sinclair, the female lead in his big screen debut. However, life is full of 'what if's...' What if Appleton were suddenly targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for suspected Communist leanings uncovered during his college years? What if Appleton lost not only his job and his girl, but his identity as well in a serious car crash in which the young writer developed amnesia? What if Appleton, unsure as to who he really is, stumbles into a charming little town on Northern California's coast and is mistaken for one of the town's long lost World War II heroes?
Jim Carrey plays an amnesiac in 1951 who has wandered into Lawson, a hamlet in Northern California where the local movie theater, the Majestic, has been abandoned. Our hero resembles Luke Trimble, a decorated veteran who has gone missing, and Luke's anguished dad, Harry (Martin Landau), clings to the idea that his lost son has come home. Our hero, who comes to believe he is Luke, decides to rebuild the deserted movie palace with the help of the townsfolk. This Naugahyde-bound phony will play like a charm on the American Movie Channel, the Jurassic Park of film. Frank Darabont wields metaphors like flashcards and brings to "The Majestic" the shopworn back-lot belief in the decency of man that made his "Green Mile" such a shabby enterprise. – Elvis Mitchell
2001-12-21 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Majestic