Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Tony Goldwyn and Bleecker Street is the story of a father and his young autistic son EZRA.

Max Brandel (Bobby Cannavale) is a stand-up comedian who is the father of autistic son Ezra (William Fitzgerald). Sharing parenting with ex-wife Jenna (Rose Byrne), Ezra also has a connection with grandfather Stan (Robert De Niro). The young boy has been showing signs of disruptive behavior in school and when Max is told that medication and a special school are in Ezra’s future, Max is not happy.

Trying to get Jenna to listen, Max feels as if he is the voice of reason for Ezra which includes not taking any medication but instead trying to understand him. Jenna’s boyfriend Bruce (Tony Goldwyn) offers to help and later that night Ezra overhears Bruce saying something that frightens him. Flying out of the house, he gets hurt leading to a confrontation at the local hospital.

Letting his anger get the best of him, Max becomes confrontational and it costs him time with Ezra. Determined to help him all while getting a stand-up gig on the Kimmel Show, Max takes Ezra without permission. He seeks the help of his friend Nick (Rainn Wilson) which doesn’t last long, then friend Grace (Vera Farmiga). Jenna is losing her mind trying to find Ezra and she turns to Stan for help and they are on the road as well.

Cannavale as Max is a father who is trying to do one better than his own father. He wants Ezra to be part of his world minus the behaviors that seem to cause his son so many problems. Cannavale’s character is sweet, charming but has some anger issues that clearly get in the way of doing the right thing by Ezra. There are challenges that Max meets on the road with Ezra and with that, Max learns more about himself.

Fitzgerald as Ezra is truly amazing in this role dealing with a mother who is over protective and a father who seems to always be on the loud side of things. His connection with grandfather Stan is one of simplicity. De Niro as grandpa Stan is a man who is not comfortable sharing his feelings about what happened with Max’s mother or as Max was growing up. When Stan’s back is up against it, he must come clean about his own feelings before its too late.

Byrne as ex-wife Jenna is a woman who seems to always be at odds with both Max and Ezra. Feeling overwhelmed by Ezra’s behaviors, she really loses it when Max decides to take their son and it all turns sideways when the police get involved. Byrne is a loving Mom who is trying to balance a son, an ex and a former father-in-law.

Shout out to Goldwyn as Bruce in this minor role (he is busy being the director of course) but his moment causes the chaos that is to come.

Other cast include Tess Goldwyn as Mrs. Cathro, Matilda Lawler as Ruby, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Principal Lee, Lois Robbins as Susan, Ella Ayberk as Dr. Tamarov, Jackson Frazer as Ridgeway, Geoffrey Owens as Robert Segal, and Whoopi Goldberg as Jayne.

Bleecker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit

EZRA is the moving story of a father who truly wants what is best for his son. Feeling that his son needs an advocate, Cannavale as Max can’t help but become aggressive when he feels that he is not being heard. That is ironic considering that his own son has those very same feeling but not exactly about the same things as his father.

Their road trip brings a bit of understanding to them both about their feelings. The added mix of De Niro as Stan and Byrne as Jenna leads them on their own journey to correct things that had kept them at odds as well. The film is charming, sad, touching and has its moments of pure joy. It isn’t just about autism, it isn’t just about father’s and son’s, it isn’t just about marriages and secrets – it is above love and how it sometimes gets lost in the messes we all make.

In the end – it is a lifesaving road trip for them all!



Recommend to friends
  • gplus
  • pinterest

About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.