Review: ‘Cry Macho’ sees softer side of Eastwood

“Cry Macho” stars Clint Eastwood as a one-time rodeo star and washed-up cowboy who accepts a job from his former boss to bring the man's estranged son to Texas, away from his Mexican mom. The 91-year-old Hollywood icon also directed and produced the Western.

Clint Eastwood stars in "Cry Macho," a feature film adaption of the 1975 novel of the same name by N. Richard Nash. about an old man's mentoring of a troubled young man. Eastwood also produced and directed the movie playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Jenkins. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — They don’t come any tougher than Clint Eastwood. But the Hollywood icon may have tackled his toughest role yet in his latest film: growing old gracefully.

Eastwood plays Mike Milo in “Cry Macho,” a one-time rodeo star who takes a job from a former boss to bring the man’s estranged son to Texas, away from his Mexican mother.

A cowboy rides a bucking horse. Contributed / Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández

The washed-up cowboy travels south of the border to find and convince the abused, angry and confused young man — who is a stranger to him in more ways than one — to go to America.


Eastwood has made a career playing tough guys, but audiences get to see a softer side — albeit slightly — of the 91-year-old, whose longevity as an actor and director seems unmatched.

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He produced and directed the almost two-hour motion picture, but the road from script to screen of the feature film adaption of the novel of the same name was as challenging as the backroads the pair takes to escape detection from Mexican authorities and his alcoholic mother’s goons.

Milo shares considerable screentime in the Western with Rafo, played by Eduardo Minett in his feature film debut, and even manages to throw a few punches and flirts his way into a widower’s heart in Eastwood’s characteristically and deliberately slow-paced drama set in the late 1970s.

“This macho thing is overrated. ... It's like anything else in life: You think you got all the answers. Then you realize, as you get older, you don't have any of them.”

— Mike Milo

“This macho thing is overrated,” Milo tells Rafo. “It's like anything else in life: You think you got all the answers. Then you realize, as you get older, you don't have any of them.”

The world-weary alcoholic played by Eastwood looks at times fragile in the new release playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Jenkins. The nonagenarian walks and speaks a little slower than many may remember, but his age works in his favor in the role.


The part of Milo calls for an actor who can convince viewers of a character with a life long-lived that at times has been beset by personal tragedies such as losing loved ones.

Eastwood’s trademark flinty stare, mocking sneer, wry delivery of lines and effortless charm he is known for remains present in “Cry Macho,” which he uses in various scenes for effect.

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The official description of the movie from Warner Bros. Pictures reads in part: “The unlikely pair faces an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman finds unexpected connections and his own sense of redemption.”

The new release is rated PG-13 for language and thematic elements, but moviegoers expecting to see shootouts among gunslingers and bloody showdowns between gringos and Hispanics should look elsewhere other than the reflective and introspective contemplation on manhood.

“Cry Macho” the novel was written by N. Richard Nash, who pitched the story first as a screenplay to movie studios, who were initially uninterested until he turned it into his 1975 book.

The motion picture was decades in the making because Eastwood was first approached to star in the feature film adaption of Nash’s novel but opted to reprise his role as Dirty Harry in “The Dead Pool,” a 1988 sequel for his no-nonsense, shoot-them-up lawman.


Eastwood reportedly felt at the time he did not have the gravitas to star in “Cry Macho” and suggested someone like veteran actor Robert Mitchum for the role. And at one point, Arnold Schwarzenegger was even attached to star in the feature film adaption but that fell through.


“Cry Macho” currently holds a 52% approval rating among critics and a 66% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The critics consensus reads: “‘Cry Macho’ proves Clint Eastwood remains an economic filmmaker and charismatic screen presence — albeit one who's an awkward fit for this particular project.”

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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