Monday, December 1, 2008

When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007)

This movie is based off the novel by Blake Morrison about how he comes to grips from the point that he learns his Dad only has a few weeks to live. He returns to his childhood home to help his Mom care for his Dad and, in his own way, to make peace with their relationship. Blake is played by Colin Firth and his dad is played by Jim Broadbent.

Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth both give two very strong performances in "When Did You Last See Your Father?"

I really liked that this was overwhelmingly, an unsentimental film. The film established and explored Blake and his Dad's relationship through a series of flashbacks. The flashbacks followed the relationship arc with Blake as a child, believing his dad could do no wrong, to Blake as a teenager thinking he wished his father were dead. It showed the Dad as a truly flawed human being. I loved the almost constant use of mirrors and reflections from the point that Blake returned to his childhood home to be with his Dad before he died. The symbolism is obvious as he reflects over the memories of the past.

The problem with the film is that it has all been done before. That may sound callous, but this is a pretty common story without any unearthed themes. I will concede that the amazing acting by Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent does make this one top-notch from the pack. Colin plays his cards close to the vest as he typically does in roles, but he finishes with a super-emotional scene that would water the eyes of even the coldest of us all. Jim Broadbent delivers an amazing performance throughout. I have always adored him as a wonderful character actor and adore him even more after seeing this.

I would say this film is definitely worth watching for the amazing, strong performances of Broadbent and Firth. Just remember that it is a slow, emotional drama so not for the faint of heart, so to speak. Also, another reason to watch this film might be a bit personal, but I will share anyway. It is this: watching Mr. Darcy naked and, uhmm, enjoying himself in a bathtub definitely made it worthwhile. I know, I am a naughty girl :-)


kda0121 said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but it sounds very good. You're right Abby, that there have already been several movies which explore this area. I watched one recently called The Thing About My Folks, with Paul Reiser and Peter Falk. This movie had a good deal of humor in it, while still examining the father/son relationship. I liked it a lot and recommend it and will check out When Did You....

AbbyNormal said...

Karl - Since it sounds like you are interested - a copy shall be yours. Thanks for being a loyal reader! I think you may be the only one? :-)