Matt Mulhern stars as an out of work sit-com actor visiting his empty childhood home on the Jersey shore while struggling to make sense of the loss of his father, his past, and, for one funny and heartbreaking week, himself.
Ben is a failed children's folk singer and less-than-extraordinary weekend dad. Deeply cynical, Ben's sole pleasure in life is derived from chess games with his Senegalese roommate Ibou. When Ibou is suddenly struck ill and an insensitive municipal employee exacerbates the emergency situation, Ben's pessimistic world view seems unequivocally confirmed. But when Ibou's sister Khadi takes his place in their apartment, what starts as an awkward living arrangement becomes something more, and Ben finds that cynicism may be all a matter of perspective.Written by
The daughter is hiding from him. He is parked outside his old home. When the daughter looks out her window she sees him in the car, with a baseball hat on. Close-ups of him show him as hatless. See more »
A dramatic gem. "Wonderful World" gives Matthew Broderick his meatiest and most interesting role in years, and showcases the remarkably assured directorial debut of Josh Goldin (who also wrote the classically spare and powerful screenplay). Goldin finds true uplift where most filmmakers might have stumbled into cliché. His story of culture clash and class disharmony, about someone who considers himself "the most negative man in the world," was never anything less than moving and gave me that rarest of experiences in a movie theater: I didn't just love the film, I came out of it wanting to be a better person.
The first half of this movie finds Broderick as an almost jarringly flawed character, an alienated children's singer, struggling with divorce, doing a mediocre job raising his teen daughter, and sinking into self- defeating pessimism. That he manages to overcome these obstacles, and truly regenerate himself, without our feeling as if the movie makers pandered to our craving for a happy ending, is truly remarkable. In part he finds hope in an offbeat relationship with his former-roommate's sister, played with earthy sexuality and witty grace by Sanaa Lathan. But this is really much more than a story of a depressed man being reborn through romance. Goldin has made a touching parable about taking action, about caring for others being the linchpin of happiness in this world.
I can't say too much more about the story, for fear of spoiling its powerful ending, but I defy anyone not to be moved.
Jodelle Ferland is a complete find as the daughter Broderick's character cannot seem to connect with. But it is Broderick himself who steals the show. He has long been one of our most underrated actors, a master of the ordinary devoid of on screen vanity. And not since "Election" have I seen him carry a film so worthy of his skills. His performance is the stuff folks give out awards for, and he should be nominated come Oscar season, along with his director, if this truly is... a wonderful world.
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