Home The Son (Parent And Baby Screening)

The Son (Parent And Baby Screening) (15)

Cast: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Kirby, Hugh Jackman, Zen McGrath, Laura Dern
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton
Director: Florian Zeller
Release Date: 17/02/2023 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 123mins
Country: UK
Year: 2022

High-flying New York lawyer Peter Miller and younger wife Beth are raising their baby son Theo as he contemplates a consultancy role in the political campaign of senator Brian Hammer. His ex-wife Kate gate-crashes domestic bliss with unsettling news: their 17-year-old son Nicholas has been playing truant from school for a month. Peter allows Nicholas to move in with him, Beth and baby Theo but the teenager continues to suffer, unable to articulate the darkness that consumes him.


LondonNet Film Review

The Son (15) Film Review from LondonNet

Divorced parents are ill-prepared to navigate their teenage son’s mental health crisis in Florian Zeller’s emotionally wrought drama, adapted by the director and Christopher Hampton from Zeller’s 2018 stage play. The co-screenwriters received golden Oscar statuettes in 2021 for their elegant adaptation of Zeller’s play The Father, in which Anthony Hopkins delivers a mesmerising performance as a discombobulated 80-something grappling with dementia. The Welsh actor chews scenery in The Son, portraying an aging political beast with strong ties to the White House, who doesn’t flinch at the prospect of taking on the role of a monster in the eyes of his 50-year-old son…

Hugh Jackman plays the aggrieved scion, delivering one of his most finely calibrated performances as an absent parent, who never had an encouraging, positive role model as a template for fatherhood. Sins of the past are revisited on subsequent generations in Zeller and Hampton’s script, which is handcuffed to its stage origins as a series of heated conversations in living rooms and offices to attribute blame and suffering. A third act sleight of hand, which might succeed at a distance in a theatre, rings hollow under the scrutiny of a camera in close-up.

High-flying New York lawyer Peter Miller (Jackman) and younger wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby) are raising their baby son Theo as he contemplates a consultancy role in the political campaign of senator Brian Hammer. The opportunity would necessitate regular visits to Washington DC and entangle Peter in the weeds of Capitol Hill. His ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern) gate-crashes domestic bliss with unsettling news: their 17-year-old son Nicholas (Zen McGrath) has been playing truant from school for a month. The boy refuses to engage with his mother and important national curriculum tests are looming.

Peter initiates a stilted conversation with his son and eventually allows Nicholas to move in with him, Beth and baby Theo, in the hope that a change of scenery will lift the teenager’s spirits. Nicholas continues to suffer, largely in silence, unable to articulate the darkness that threatens to consume him. An impotent and confused Peter seeks answers and an apology from his 80-something workaholic father Anthony (Hopkins), who has scant interest in salving deep psychological scars of an unhappy childhood. “It’s pathetic watching a man of fifty chained to the teenager he once was,” snarls Anthony. “Get over it!”

The Son tackles thorny and uncomfortable issues with a heightened sense of urgency almost three years after the first Covid lockdown. An ensemble cast led by Jackman emerges from the wringer with tears and bruises but characters’ reactions don’t always ring true. A pivotal scene in a hospital room, debating Nicholas’ acute depression with a doctor (Hugh Quarshie), is particularly manipulative, neatly setting up an inevitable final hammer blow.

– Jo Planter


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