3 user 2 critic

The Elder Son (2006)

A story of a Russian clarinetist living in Los Angeles, whose life changes when a young local car thief passes himself off as his long-lost son.


Marius Balchunas


Marius Balchunas (screenplay), Scott Sturgeon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Shane West ... Bo
Leelee Sobieski ... Lolita
Eric Balfour ... Skip
Rade Serbedzija ... Max
Reiley McClendon ... Nikita
Regina Hall ... Susan
Brian Geraghty ... Greg
Ed Begley Jr. ... Leonard
Elya Baskin ... Uncle Fedya
Svetlana Efremova ... Vera
Ivana Milicevic ... Tanya
Joel David Moore ... Kenny (as Joel Moore)
Alan Blumenfeld ... Mr. Kleeman
Michael Rose ... Mom's Boyfriend (as Michael Edward Rose)
Kathleen Gati ... Fedya's Wife


THE OPTIMIST is the story of Max, a Russian clarinetist living in Los Angeles, whose life changes when Bo, looking for a hideout after a botched car heist, passes himself off as Max's long-lost son. Complications ensue when Bo falls in love with his newfound "sister" Lolita. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and drug use | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Version of Az elsöszülött (1974) See more »

User Reviews

Underrated Mature Family Comedy
9 August 2020 | by TheAnimalMotherSee all my reviews

This really is a cute and mostly convincing little comedy. And you could almost call it a partial crime-drama as well, or tragic comedy at least but not overly tragic. Mostly it's a feel good film. It's playful, and definitely for a mature audience, but definitely very suitable for watching with other mature family members or friends. The film is very cute, fun and mostly very down home feeling. The acting is great for the most part, and so is the Russian immigrant atmosphere the film often has. It's a unique film for the most part, much different than your average Hollywood release at least. I think that's partly why I enjoyed it. The film was sort of familiar, but yet not so much, leaving you wanting to see how things turn out no matter your overall interest level in the subjects, or even in the main plot. The film is a loose reversion of the Alexander Vampilov Russian hit play from 1969. He died at only 34 years of age, but his plays have been performed from Moscow to London, and all the way to the USA. If you want a fun, warm hearted slice of life comedy. This is a good choice in my view. I'd probably rate it a 7.5 out of 10 really if I could, but since it's mostly been underrated so far in my view, I'll give it an 8. Usually I round down when it comes to films, but sometimes I feel generous. :)

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Release Date:

30 March 2009 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The Optimist See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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