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The Crack Magazine

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The Son

Director: Florian Zeller

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, Laura Dern, Anthony Hopkins

French playwright turned director Florian Zeller’s follow-up to the revelatory and audacious ‘The Father’, which sees him teaming up once more with English writer and translator Christopher Hampton, is a maudlin misfire. Jackman is Peter, a very successful New York corporate lawyer whose younger, second wife Beth (Kirby) has just had a child. His extremely unhappy ex-wife Kate (Dern in a thankless one-note role) lives with their troubled seventeen-year-old son Nicholas (McGrath). When the clearly depressed Nicholas’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and he starts skipping school and disappearing for lengthy stretches, Peter and Kate are initially at a loss what to do, before deciding to let Nicholas move in with Peter and Beth. The formal daring of ‘The Father’ is abandoned in favour of pedestrian direction and a stagey feel. The picture strives for psychological insight but is undone by a poor, problematic script, as well as oafish characterisation, which leaves the estimable cast lying in the wreckage. Only a hammy cameo by Anthony Hopkins as Peter’s nasty dad momentarily livens things up.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm

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