6.1/10
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36 user 71 critic

The Family Fang (2015)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer

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A brother and sister return to their family home in search of their world famous parents who have disappeared.

Director:

Jason Bateman

Writers:

Kevin Wilson (based on the book by), David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nicole Kidman ... Annie Fang
Jason Bateman ... Baxter Fang
Kathryn Hahn ... Young Camille
Harris Yulin ... Hobart Waxman
Christopher Walken ... Caleb Fang
Jason Butler Harner ... Young Caleb
Marin Ireland ... Suzanne Crosby
Alexandra Wentworth ... Sally Schiff
Michael Chernus ... Kenny
Josh Pais ... Freeman
Linda Emond ... Miss Delano
Scott Shepherd ... Art Critic Matt Lovisek
Charlie Saxton ... Chicken Queen Manager
Steve Witting ... Art Critic Jacob Deforest
Mackenzie Brooke Smith ... Young Annie Fang (age 9) (as Mackenzie Smith)
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Storyline

Annie and Baxter, the adult children of the controversial husband and wife conceptual performance art couple famous for their quirky macabre public performances, have never got over the fact that their parents kept using them during their childhood in their often gory and disturbing satirical public performances. They often clash with their now elderly parents over this and blame them for their problems in their adult life. However, the two become worried when they're told by the police that their parents have gone missing during their trip outside of town. The brother considers the possibility that something horrible might have happened to them, but the sister is convinced that it's just another one of their stupid games or twisted conceptual performances. She convinces him that they should go and look for them themselves.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 May 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cenas de Família See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,506, 1 May 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$240,067, 22 May 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first trailer for the film wasn't released until three weeks before the release date. See more »

Goofs

When she arrives home there is 5 messages on phone. She listens only to 4, ignoring the last one. It could be vital. See more »

Quotes

Baxter Fang: Don't be afraid. Own the moment. If you're in control then the chaos will happen around you and not to you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Half in the Bag: 2016 Movie Catch-up (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Around The Campfire
Performed by Selectracks
Written by Justin Bateman Knox
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A twisted portrait of parental abuse under the guise of art
6 December 2016 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

Bad-parent movies are a popular comedy genre that laughs at parents for not being perfect. The drama, thriller or horror versions are more about exploring the dark side of family life and the damage that adults inflict on their young. The offbeat satire The Family Fang (2015) has its funny moments but this is not a comedy. It is a portrait of psychological abuse conducted by parents in the name of art with sinister undercurrents always beneath the surface.

Internationally renowned Caleb Fang (Christopher Walken) and his wife Camille (Maryanne Plunkett) are performance artists dedicated to disrupting the conventions of normality. They stage impromptu happenings in public places simply to witness the sublime beauty of the resulting chaos. Their children Annie (Nicole Kidman) and Baxter (Jason Bateman) have been used as performance props since they were born and their adult lives bear the scars of parenting based on artifice and deception. As youngsters they busked a song "kill all parents so you can keep living" just to get crowd reactions, but they could not foresee the truth in the lyrics nor how their parents would control their lives into adulthood.

The story unfolds backwards with Annie and Baxter at their parent's empty home searching for clues to explain the sudden and violent of disappearance of Caleb and Camille. Police believe the worst but the siblings believe it is just another stunt. While trawling through videos and other memorabilia, they see their lives paraded before them. They realise that they have always been exploited and are victims of unresolved psychological abuse. Through flashbacks, they can see Caleb as a violent personality and Camille as meekly compliant while family gatherings were tension-filled events under Caleb's domination. When the siblings question the value of the performances the reaction is pure menace.

This is a dysfunctional family in both obvious and implied ways, and the film keeps us guessing whether the knotted ball can ever be untangled. The four characters are well defined with strong and believable performances, and the conflicts between young and old are frighteningly recognisable as the kind of things that happen in both normal and transgressive families. When Caleb says "parents damage kids, so what" it sends a shiver down your spine to realise that some people are not psychologically equipped to be parents. Annie and Baxter must confront the fact that letting their parents go may the only way to grow up. This is an original take on an age-old story that is also provocative and engaging.


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