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New Rental: And When Did You Last See Your Father?

February 18, 2009

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With anticipation for Anand Tucker’s three upcoming films in 2009-2010, I finally got a chance to check out his last work, And When Did You Last See Your Father?, a touching tale of a father-son relationship. As we see the grown up son, played by Colin Firth, facing the death of his father from cancer, we are privy to the intimate and conflicting memories of a boy looking up to what appeared an invincible man.

The father, masterfully performed by Jim Broadbent (of course) is mostly shown through memories as his present body is riddled with illness and he is but a shadow of his former self. Hence the title, when did you last see your father. Colin Firth’s character, Blake, sets out on a memory search of when the last time he really saw who he remembers as his father, not the dying body before him.

But the story is not just about memories, but rather a life spent without really ever talking to someone and then realizing it may be too late. The tumultous thoughts of a strained father-son relationship color Blake’s perception of the man dying before him. The movie is quiet, simple and just leads you into the familiar world of parent-adult child relationships.

Like Tucker’s other films Shopgirl and Hilary and Jackie I struggled with the pacing of the movie, particularly the sluggish middle. However, Jim Broadbent, Colin Firth and Juliet Stevenson are all dynamic enough for me to ignore any minor issues I had with the movie.

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