Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review - When Did You Last See Your Father?

Coming to terms with your father's death is never an eay one. And When Did You Last See Your Father tells the story of forty year old Blake Morrison, who must deal with the fact his father is dying. He travels to Yorkshire to aide his mother and to spend the remaining days of his father's life with him. In this time leading up his father's death, Blake recounts stories and experiences he had with his father and ultimatley questions the bond he and his father had.

Directed by Anand Tucker and based off the book written by Blake Morrison, And When Did You Last See Your Father? is a charming and very endearing story of a son dealing with the fact, his father is about to die. Colin Firth (The Girl With the Pearl Earing) who plays Blake Morrison is extremely good as the confused and sorrowful son. Jim Broadbent (Gangs of New York) as Blake's father gives one of the years most stunning performances. His character really connected with me and his character gives the film all of it's joy. Broadbent and Firth together are perfect and really do a fabulous job a representing the quarks that a father and son typically can have. Firth, however only really has a supporting role, because most of the best memories are played by Matthew Beard and Bradley Johnson, as Blake's younger self.

The film really takes you through all of Blake's life and memories of his father in a photo album sort of way. Blake will see something that reminded him of his father or an old story he use to tell and it triggers a memory flashback. All of the flashbacks in the film are very touching and equally well performed. Some are very humorous and others are real tear jerker's (If you are emotional, grab a tissue box, you'll need it). Every flashback helps to untangle the web of Blake's memory of his father. Some tend to make you understand why he may have a dislike for his father at times, and others show just how much his father means to him. Again, each one is very compelling and combined make for a really heart-warming & touching film. Simply, it is a very real and endearing film (You'll think of your father, no doubt).

Matthew Beard and Bradley Johnson both did flawless jobs as Arthur's son. Matthew Beard particularly because he plays the teen version of Blake and has much tougher situtations to convey. We all know our teen years can be difficult for both parents and their children alike, And When Did You Last See Your Father is no exception. Blake and Arthur have their hold-up's as father and son, but this film does a beautiful job of expressing all of the complicated aspects to our relationship with our parents that we have as we grow up. Bradley Johnson who plays the young child version, does a great job of showing that fascination we had in our father's as tikes. The wonderment he shows is perfect and reminded me all too much of me looking up to my father.

Overall, And When Did You Last See Your Father? is a wonderful heart-warming film that should be seen by any son. For some it might hit too close to home and be hard to watch, but the performances are flawless and the emotion conveyed isn't easily forgetable. I think the tagline says it all: A parent and a child. The past and the present. Memories and secrets. Can you know someone for a lifetime....and not know them at all? The life of a father. Through the journey of a son.