A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
It's 2003. Thirty-eight year old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal Fields to cancer, after Oliver's mother Georgia Fields passed away five years earlier. Oliver is naturally a sullen man due to his growing up relationship with his parents (his mother who had a unique view on life) and watching his parents' cordial but somewhat distant relationship with each other, but is more so now because of his personal family loss. Oliver embarks on a relationship with Anna, a French actress. Oliver is hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia's death and Hal's new outlook on life during that time will show Oliver how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia's death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a joie de vivre that did not exist before, which included an open relationship with a much younger man named Andy. Oliver's relationship with Anna has other obstacles, including Anna's own vagabond lifestyle and Oliver needing to... Written by
I got the chance to attend a sneak peek of director, Mike Mills', latest film last night at one of the Reel Affirmations film festival's monthly screenings. I like Mills' films. They've got a moody, tortured aesthetic, and this one is no different. The story is primarily about the relationship between a man, Oliver (Ewan McGregor), and his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer). When Hal dies, Oliver is left to contemplate his life, their relationship, and all the poor choices each of them had made up until this point. We see the world through Oliver's eyes, and so the whole film is suffused with an overall tone of deep sadness. He can't seem to make any of his romantic relationships work, but then he's never really had any good role models. You see, after the death of his mother four years prior, Hal finally came out to his son as gayat the ripe age of seventy-five. It's a very touching, and lightly sweet moment. Oliver is happy that his father hasn't given up on life, and is finally pursuing true love, but he just can't forget the years of isolation and loneliness his mother went through. Commence the sad wallowing.
Of course, all this changes when Oliver meets an alluring, winsome French girl (Melanie Laurent). Anna is an actress, and she's just about as bad at relationships as Oliver. They don't know much about each other, but they're both beautiful, damaged souls, so they get on like a house on fire. And somehow, Oliver is thinking less and less about his parents. Those ladies can be mighty distracting! But, not distracting enough to totally conceal either of these attractive kids' inherent personality flaws. But they're pretty fetching while they're working out their demons!
This is a wonderful film. It really captures the deep emotions people feel for each other, and even lets the audience feel some of them for themselves. There were definitely moments during the screening that had people surreptitiously wiping tears from the corners of their eyes. But, it's also sexy and funny too. We get to enjoy Oliver and Anna's uncertain flirtation. And, we also get to savor Hal's belated (but not too late!) blossoming. He's as giddy and nervous as a school-girl at her first dance, but he ultimately takes to his new life like a fish to water, even as late to the game as he is. This movie is a real crowd pleaser, and it's one that just about everyone will enjoy. The pacing is deliberate and solemn, but the story sucks you in enough that you barely notice. You can even bring a date to this one. It's not one to miss.
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