The new Finch movie was perhaps one of the most heartwarming post-apocalyptic movies you’ll ever have the joy of seeing. And while it does bring tears to your eyes at times, it still leaves you with a warm feeling inside and a desire to hug your pets close. This is one of the few post-apocalyptic movies out there that you’ll want to watch with your grandmother. Tom Hanks is amazing and knocks this one out of the park. Think “Mr. Rogers Meets WALL-E.”
This is a review of the movie Finch, so there will be spoilers AFTER this first section, which only has enough minor spoilers to help you know if you’ll want to watch.
This Movie Is a Breath of Fresh Air (Non-Spoiler Section)
This movie is a breath of fresh air for anyone who really wants to watch a Tom Hanks survival movie, but is tired of so much mayhem and discord that we’ve lived through during the pandemic. The only minor spoiler that I’ll share is that you won’t find a ton of human-vs-human strife in this movie. So if you’re tired of constantly seeing people at each other’s throats, just know that is only a very, very minor part of this movie, left in mostly for a sense of realism about an apocalyptic world.
Far more important is how beautifully told this “coming of age” story is. It’s the story of a man and his dog — and who can resist that, especially when the man is Tom Hanks? It’s a story of a man teaching a robot about survival and life. It’s a story of watching that robot grow into his own person. There will be moments that will bring tears to your eyes, and there will be some moments when you’ll feel anxious about what’s going to happen next. But trust me, it’s well worth it. The story is carefully woven amid a realistic apocalypse that tries to be authentic with what is needed for survival, without being heavy-handed about the whole thing.
This is the type of movie you’ll want to watch with your grandparents. My mom, who typically prefers more feel-good fares like Hallmark movies, will enjoy this film too. It’s quintessential Tom Hanks. At times, I could see Mr. Rogers (whom he previously played) shining through his Finch character. But not in a way where Finch felt derivative of Mr. Rogers. He has enough of his own quirks to set him apart as an entirely different character who could very well be Mr. Rogers’ brother.
Miguel Sapochnik directs the movie, and he’s an amazing choice. He directed some of the best episodes in Game of Thrones, like “The Winds of Winter,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “Hardhome.” He doesn’t disappoint with how carefully he weaves beautiful cinematography into a tale that shines at its best during simple scenes where the robot and the man are talking, or in capturing a knowing look between a man and his dog.
Think of Finch as a combination of WALL-E and Castaway, with the heartwarming moments from I Am Legend tossed in. It’s a beautiful story. You’ll miss out if you don’t watch it.
Major Spoiler Section Below
And now for the spoiler-part of the movie review.
There are major spoilers below.
There were almost no plotholes in this movie, and it really felt like the writers took a lot of care to build an authentic apocalyptic world that was destroyed 15 years ago by major solar flares. Finch and his dog, GoodYear, have to try to avoid being in the sun due to intense UV exposure. At times, Finch has to wear a UV suit to protect him because the ozone layer has been riddled like Swiss cheese. The world wasn’t destroyed by mankind, as has been the center of most apocalyptic tales of late, but by solar flares and EMPs. The ozone layer has been demolished to the point that there is no vegetation and the crops and food are gone, Finch comments at one point. He has to spend his life scavenging for himself and his dog.
— SUMAN CHAKRABORTY (@SUMAN_BITTU_) November 5, 2021
The love between him and his dog (portrayed by Seamus) is just so palpable, you’ll want to hug your own pet several times during the movie. He adopted GoodYear when the pup’s original family was killed by doomsday raiders. The scene where Finch found sweet GoodYear in a backpack just made me want to cry. The movie was tailor-made to bring tears to my demographic.
Because he knows that he’s dying, Finch creates a robot to take care of GoodYear after he’s gone. This is truly the most heartfelt, genuinely GOOD goal that I’ve ever seen played out in an apocalyptic hero. And while they are living in a harsh world, we’re still shown that there’s beauty to be found. An aurora borealis shines bright only because of the destruction of the ozone layer. A tender moment between a dog and his owner stands strong against the harsh climate. The innocent heart of a robot brings hope in devastation.
As a robot, Jeff brings his own “coming of age” story to the movie. As he grows, his voice inflection changes from a robotic tone to a voice with deeper character and emotion. He grows from an infant to a young adult in the span of just two hours, and it’s beautiful to see. As he grows, he eventually moves from relying on Finch for survival to helping him survive in his own unique way. And as he grows, Jeff’s relationship with GoodYear also grows in a heartwarming way.
One moment in the movie does delve into the man-vs-man element we expect in an apocalyptic film. But it does so sparingly and without relying heavily on any tropes. We never actually see the human who is pursuing them, but the fear brought from their pursuit is still strong. And the unseen person’s presence still leaves a lasting scar: the death of Dewey (the little robot) and the loss of valuable pieces of equipment.
This is why Finch avoids people entirely. He’s the true introvert who is kindhearted, smart, but excels better on his own, with only his robot and dog for company.
The movie avoids other tropes too. I was glad that GoodYear survived and we never had to endure a dog’s death (although Dewey’s death still broke my heart.) But GoodYear’s anguish and pain when Finch died was just as heartbreaking. And Finch’s death was just as hard to watch as the death of a beloved pet, since his heart was so pure. But there’s also a sense of peace, since he got to find a place free of the harsh UV rays of the sun and he was able to die knowing his dog and Jeff had the hope of a better future lying before them.
— • (@kdramas_movies) November 5, 2021
The movie ends on a beautiful note. Jeff and GoodYear complete their journey to San Francisco and find that it has a green, lush landscape nestled beneath an intact ozone layer. Jeff sees the loving notes left on the bridge and decides that they will look for kind, caring people. Finch tasked him with doing what was best for GoodYear, and that is exactly what Jeff is going to do.
Just finished watching #Finch on Apple TV.
I'm not crying. You're crying! pic.twitter.com/HRnc4yAAzJ
— It’s ADAM. Bet you all miss Beanie Babies now! (@Adsinjapan) November 5, 2021
The soundtrack choice was perfect too. Panning out from GoodYear and Jeff as the song “American Pie” plays ended the movie on the perfect note. I almost feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t watch this one.