the implausible and failed sequel to ‘The Father’ | The USA Print

the implausible and failed sequel to 'The Father'



Everyone was looking forward to the new film by Florian Zeller, the playwright who debuted as a feature film director with the celebrated The father, a thriller-like drama about Alzheimer’s that received unanimous praise from critics and audiences alike, turning dementia into a passageway full of gloomy places through which its protagonist, played by Anthony Hopkins, travels. That performance gave him his second Oscar and since then everyone has remembered the actor, the oldest to collect a statuette, dancing excitedly at the age of 84 at the party after the awards.

The father It was the film adaptation of the homonymous play by Zeller (considered by many to be one of the best current French playwrights, along with names like Yasmina Reza), which is part of a trilogy also composed by The son and Mother.

In the last edition of venice festival all eyes were on the first one, starring Hugh Jackman, who everyone expected to see debut in the Oscar nominations, as well as Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath and Anthony Hopkins. The ingredients were perfect but the result was unsuccessful and this Friday it hits theaters with the long shadow of its predecessor and little more to offer than a telefilm.

The approach, however, is not simple. Jackman plays Peter, a man with a successful professional life who lives with his young couple and their few-month-old baby. One day, his ex-wife comes to his house to tell him that his 17-year-old son does not come to class and is aggressive with her. Given the parent’s concern, the adolescent decides to go live with him and start a new life, but soon the problems that his father must deal with surface.

With his debut on the big screen, Zeller managed to tackle a subject as tragic and unappealing as dementia with a harrowing thriller and a grim story far from any sentimentality.

The bar was very high, because with his debut on the big screen, Zeller managed to address a subject as tragic and unattractive as dementia with a harrowing thriller and a grim story far from any sentimentality or pornographic look. The easy tear was the last resort in her debut and, nevertheless, for this editor of Vozpopuliin its sequel melodrama accounts for almost all of the footagesupported by music that emphasizes the most obvious pain and by repetitive situations that add nothing to the story or the characters.

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The sonLost opportunity

When one finishes seeing The son think about the missed opportunity this film represents to address depression in adolescents and the great effect it has on families dealing with such a complex stage in their children’s development. Is inevitable to think of examples of films made with sensitivitytact and subtlety in which a disorder or a mental illness gets in the way of life and in the relationship between family or friends, as is the case of the delicate aftersunby Charlotte Wells, one of the best titles released in 2022.

Even if The son is an excuse to speak from the mental illness of parental lovethe affective inheritance received, the complexity of wanting and establishing limits, the lack of communication, the feeling of failure, the little time we dedicate to loved ones or new opportunities, the truth is that the film sinks each time. one of his many attempts.

How complicated it is to approach mental health from culture without falling into the obvious, without using it as a pretext to make a melodrama

One also remembers the wonderful and simple Always with you, in which the Israeli Air Bergman narrates the relationship of a father and his son with autism. Whereas in The son there is endless open topics that Zeller does not delve into He does not move forward, he leaves everything halfway, and the feeling of emptiness is complete. So much so that one even comes to think that the director only wants to see the viewer cry.

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How difficult it is to talk about mental illness, especially among adolescents, and to identify the typical features of depression in time. How complicated it is to approach mental health from culture without falling into the obvious, without using it as a pretext to make a melodrama, without falling into sentimentality and without reaching tragedies full of good intentions. As a psychiatrist tells these desperate parents at one point in the film: “Love Is Not Enough”. Wanting to make a movie about a mental disorder, either.