Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
Howard has a loving wife (Garner), two daughters, a prestigious job as a Manhattan lawyer, and a comfortable home in the suburbs. But inwardly he's suffocating, and eventually he snaps and goes into hiding in his garage attic leaving his family to wonder what happened to him. He observes them from his window - an outsider spying in on his own life - as the days of exile stretch into months. Is it possible to go back to the way things were?Written by
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The train Wakefield boarded from Grand Central was a diesel hauled train. A power outage might have affected the train's motion (electric trains stalled ahead etc), but it would not have affected the lights in the train given that the power comes from the diesel locomotive. See more »
Oh my god, Ben Jacobs. Oh, yes, yes, yes, here we go. Coffee and cookies, come on in. He's going to need some whitener for his coffee, Diane. 'Uh, you don't have any soy milk do you?' Of course she's got soy milk. She's got everything. Please, Ben, please tell her about your tragic lactose intolerance, all the bloating and flatulence. Ah, aha, a little pro bono work on behalf of the firm. How nice of you. 'I'm impressed with my attorney, Bernie. I'm impressed with his influential friends. He's ...
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Lost in the attic
Who would have thought a movie about a man hiding in his garage spying on his family would work? However what starts out as odd and off-putting, ends up still odd but totally absorbing.
Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) is a successful New York lawyer with a beautiful wife, Diana (Jennifer Garner), twin daughters and house in an upmarket suburb. Then he suddenly leaves it all behind, he vanishes, but he doesn't go far; he ends up in the attic above his garage studying the lives of his family and his neighbours. As months pass, he lives like a hermit, stealing food from garbage bins at night, but as he studies the others he actually begins to understand more about himself.
Although set in modern day, in a way the Wakefield family seem like a typical family from the 1950s; Howard Wakefield could almost be "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit". Or maybe suburban life just hasn't changed all that much despite smartphones, drones and personal trainers.
The film reminds me of a couple of others where a guy drops out of suburban life and dumps family and responsibility: "Kiss the Sky" with William Peterson and "Tom White", an Australian movie starring Colin Friels.
Unlike the others, Howard does not experience extracurricular sex; a 'new cookie' isn't on his agenda. He just seems alienated from the world that was the norm for most of his life.
"Wakefield" has a light touch but it isn't a comedy. A number of times Howard asks the audience if everybody at some time or other hasn't thought of walking away and starting over? However underlying the whole thing is the feeling that what he is doing to his family, particularly Diana, is cruel. She simply doesn't deserve it. Of course as the movie progresses Howard realises that the problems with his life are mostly of his own doing.
"Wakefield" sneaks up on you. Although the ending is tricky, it's in keeping with the rest of the movie, which is unexpected to say the least.
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