Movie review: ‘Jerry and Marge Go Large’

Published 8:37 pm Thursday, October 12, 2023

By Lauren Bradshaw
Lauren’s Review

So I know I am over a year late to the game on this, but when I watched “Jerry and Marge Go Large” and it resulted in me being a puddle of emotions, I knew I needed to add a quick review for it. I don’t know about you, but I am totally the person that gets even more emotional than normal in an airplane. Add a heartwarming, feel-good movie like this, and it’s a recipe for disaster… or in this case a flight attendant coming over to ask if I was OK.

I remember vaguely hearing about “Jerry and Marge Go Large” last year, but it’s shocking that an entertaining and special movie like this, starring Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening, (yes, you read that right) didn’t get more publicity and hype. 

Based on a true story, the film centers around Jerry (Cranston) and Marge (Bening) Selbee, a couple from a small town in Michigan that have been married since they were 17. Jerry is about to retire from his job at Kellogg’s, and while some would be excited to begin their golden years, Jerry wonders if he even made anything out of his life. He is a big brain, especially at math, and uses equations to solve many of the things he encounters in everyday life. But unfortunately, he was never able to reach his full potential, a reality that’s even more crushing when he looks at his meager retirement income.

That all changes when Jerry begins reading the rules for a new lottery game, Winfall. Using a napkin, he quickly does the math and discovers that he can “game” the lottery. If you buy enough tickets, there is a guarantee that you will make your money back and then some. But will Jerry be able to get away with it? And what will his family, friends and community think?

Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening have fantastic chemistry, masterfully showing their shifting character and relationship arcs; they go from a small-town couple that are merely going through the motions… to an energized team excited for their next adventure. Bryan Cranston really is the heart of the film, showing a man whose intelligence was almost crippling, but ended up changing his family and community for the better. The moments that really touched me were when Jerry was able to finally, truly connect to his children, giving them a window into why he was the way he was and enabling them to finally appreciate their dad’s gifts.

“Jerry and Marge Go Large” is a beautiful story about a man that uses his gifts to reignite his marriage, rekindle his relationship with his kids and awaken his sleepy small town. It is just the kind of feel-good movie that I think we are all looking for right now and what Hollywood doesn’t make enough of due to the relatively small budget. I dare you to watch this film and not come away with a smile on your face and a new underrated movie to recommend to friends and family.

My Review: B+

Lauren Bradshaw grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and double-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area and can be reached at flickchickdc@gmail.com.