On Bluray from writer/director Florian Zeiller and Sony Picture Classics is the story of struggle, pain and remembering THE SON.
Nicholas (Zen McGrath) is a seventeen-year-old kid who is struggling with his life. Living with Mom Kate (Laura Dern), he expresses that he can no longer live with her and she does not understand why. Turning to dad Peter (Hugh Jackman) and new wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby), he asks to live with them and his new baby brother.
Promising to attend school, go to therapy and do whatever his father asks, it seems that Nicholas is on the right path. Peter is thrilled to see his son doing so well, especially since his job keeps him away. But someone is noticing things aren’t quite right, Beth tries to speak with Peter about what she is sensing but Peter isn’t convinced.
Peter visits his father Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) and revisits old issues but Dad is not hearing it. Instead, he is making it clear that it is ridiculous that Peter lives in the past and holds resentments toward him. Returning home, Peter discovers that Nicholas has not been keeping his promises and a spiral sends the whole family into a place no family wants too ever be.
Jackman as Peter is a man torn between two families. Being consistently reminded of the breakup of his first family from both Nicholas and Kate, Peter is trying to do better the second time around. Jackman puts on a brave front for both families and believes that Nicholas will pull out of whatever is bothering him. Jackman’s performance is one of a man who cannot bring himself to see the reality of what is happening around him.
Dern as Kate clearly does not know where to put her feelings. Still speaking of a life that no longer applies, it is a constant reminder to her son of what he feels he has lost. Dern is weepy and needy which makes the relationship with Peter awkwardly uncomfortable for anyone seeing it. That does not mean she doesn’t see what is happening with Nicholas but is equally confused about what to do as Peter. Dern turns on the needy and weepy full force.
McGrath as Nicholas is a young man who makes it clear that he does not feel like he fits in, has no friends and sees school as torture. Normally, if I saw this in a teen, I would make immediate calls and not stop until it was handled properly. Unfortunately, what I see in the character of Nicholas is a raging teen that seems more like he is throwing fits than crying for help. I do not believe that is what the director intended.
Kirby as Beth seems to be the only one who understands what is happening between the two families. Trying to bring it to Peter’s attention, she is reminding him that he is repeating neglecting his second family. She also understands far better what Nicholas is doing.
Other cast include William Hope as Andrew, Joseph Mydell as Brian, Erick Hayden as Allan, Isaura Barbe-Brown as Sophia, Akie Kotabe as Mr. Yama, Shin-Fei Chen as Alexandra, Danielle Lewis as Jessica and George Cobell as young Nicholas.
Sony Pictures Classics brings television, digital content, new entertainment services, independent films and technologies to viewers. Such films as GREED, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE CLIMB, CHARM CITY KINGS, I CARRY YOU WITH ME and THE FATHER are just a few of the current and upcoming releases. For more information on what Sony Pictures Classics has to offer please visit www.sonyclassics.com.
The Special Feature includes Bringing THE SON to the Big Screen.
The accolades include nominations from the Venice International Film Festival, Satellite Awards and the Golden Globe Awards nomination for Hugh Jackman for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.
THE SON is a story of two families struggling with the issues of a teen who is living with his own whirlwind of insecurities and uncertainties. Those issues for a young person are serious, require immediate attention and ability to have available resources without a ‘waiting’ list. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
The film also brings to the forefront the issue of parents who believe they can solve a problem that is not in their wheel house. As a parent I can say it is difficult when your child needs something that you cannot provide, but then again, if there is someone who can you can believe I’d get my kid to them.
I found the characters of Peter and Kate just so clearly in denial of everything. Their own lives, their unresolved issues, and their inability to admit to practically anything that has happened between them and the issues about Nicholas. They seemed more concerned about optics than solving the problem.
Then again, that’s just the opinion of someone who raised four kids.
In the end – family is complicated and love even more so.