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Son, The


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

Director: Florian Zeller

Zeller's follow-up to The Father, which won an Oscar for Hopkins - who reprises his role here in a one-scene cameo - is a depressing but sadly convincing talkathon about Hopkins' teenage grandson Nicholas (newcomer McGrath, a real find). whose parents, Peter and Kate (Jackman, Dern) are now divorced, while Peter lives with new wife Beth (Kirby) and their baby.

They receive an unannounced, in-person call from Kate, who can no longer cope with the disturbed and melancholy Nicholas, who has never recovered from the break-up, now wants to go home to live with his father and has not been to school for a month.

Once ensconced with the newlyweds, however, Nicholas is given to self-harming and acute depressions and quits school again, unknown to Peter, a high-flying executive, after one day. 'It's life,' he responds when asked the problem. 'Sometimes I feel I'm not made for this life. I just can't deal with all of it and I'm in pain all the time.'

He worships his father, but doesn't 'think I'm ever going to measure up', while the more practical Beth swiftly diagnoses that 'he's not right in the head'. After a suicide attempt, Nicholas is sectioned, although one might wish the doctors had been more decisive on the future of his treatment. The tragic consequences are obvious always,

This is an actors' showcase and, although none of the cast lets the director down, it's the translucent McGrath whose impassioned playing steals the show.

David Quinlan

USA/UK/France 2022. UK Distributor: STX International. Colour by Company 3 .
124 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 15 Feb 2023