Image from here
So my movie selections may have been a little Duvall-heavy lately, but that is because he is currently my favorite actor. And Secondhand Lions is one of the most enjoyable movies I have seen in a long time. It's almost a perfect story. And by "perfect story," I mean the story is ridiculous and awful. Or could be awful, if it weren't so well executed. It's a coming of age story built of cliches and decorated with ridiculous boyish fantasies. It could easily have devolved into a National Lampoon's Vacation movie.
But using the magic of talent and vision, the people who made Secondhand Lions instead perform magic. It was written and well directed Tim McCanlies, without resorting to film school tricks, which is apparently quite tempting for new(ish) directors. But McCanlies has been around movies for a long time as a writer, and was apparently paying attention.
The acting was just superb. Duvall should be in the Smithsonian or something, and Haley Joe Osment shows depth well beyond his years. I really look forward to seeing him grow up. Michael Caine is, well he's Michael Caine. And the chemistry between these three is what really makes the movie. If you're not a little verklempt by the end of the film, you probably weren't paying attention.
So if you are a person who has a hard time with unrealistic stories, and all of your favorite shows are CBS crime dramas, you might want to skip this one. On the other hand, if you love good acting, and you can put up with tall tales and larger than life characters, Secondhand Lions is one you will want to see.