And When Did You Last See Your Father?(2008)
Screenwriter David Nicholls' (Starter for 10) adaptation intercuts between the unendurable pathos of the father's deathbed and flashbacks of the son's childhood memories. Morrison's father Arthur (Broadbent) is a country GP with a rakish, raffish addiction to venial scams and dodges. Colin Firth plays the tight-lipped Blake, still needing closure after a lifetime's swallowed rage, and still seething at Arthur's blustering refusal to congratulate him on his successes in literary London.
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The performances are hard to fault. Colin Firth (Pride & Prejudice, Bridget Jones's Diary) plays regretful adult son Blake Morrison with controlled pathos, while in the flashbacks newcomer Matthew Beard gives the teenage Blake a believably awkward geekiness, gradually morphing into simmering rage as his dad humiliates him in public time and time again. But the film really belongs to veteran Jim Broadbent (also Bridget Jones's Diary), whose portrayal of the philandering father – getting up to all sorts of no good in his younger days and by stark contrast slowly wasting away from cancer in the '80s scenes – is both funny and almost unbearably moving, with strong support from Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) as his silently suffering wife.
Things unfold rather like a mature English version of Tim Burton's fantasy drama Big Fish, but this lacks the hope at the heart of that movie, leaving you instead with just a genuine feeling of sadness about the emotional estrangement of its main characters, and possibly the urge to hug the first old bloke you can find. It's a heartfelt film, impeccably acted, but it's not for everyone. And if you've experienced losing one of your own parents, make sure to take a box of tissues into the cinema – this will have you in floods.
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And When Did You Last See Your Father?
An egotistical treatise in which i longed for a freshly painted wall to view. I loved the Alvis, it was immaculate.
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