Film Review – The Son

The Son (M)

Directed by: Florian Zeller

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Zen McGrath

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Hugh Jackman digs deep in this emotional and dramatic character study, but can’t help but chuck in a small dance sequence.

Workaholic Peter (Hugh Jackman) is approached by his ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern) to help step in when she discovers their teenage son Nicholas (Zen McGrath) has not been to school in a month.

In addition to this, something is driving a wedge between mother and son – could it be normal teenage hormones creating behavioral changes, or something deeper?

Peter is happy to step up, and Nicholas even moves in with him, but this causes strain between Peter and his new wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby), who has just given birth to their own child.

The Son explores the difficulties and distance created between child and parent when that child is going through depression.

It delicately and brilliantly captures a young person’s inability to explain what they are feeling and why, and another person’s inability to relate – the scenes in which Peter and Nicholas cannot find a common ground or understanding of their own situation are heartbreaking.

On top of this, the film explores parental guilt: did the divorce cause this, was it not enough quality time spent together?

The cast is terrific, with Jackman delivering a rare fully fledged dramatic performance with a rounded character that he rarely has the opportunity to sink his teeth into.

If only it had re-thought the scene in which he dances like a daggy dad – a glaring reminder of this theatrical background which we have already seen displayed in Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman.

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