Classic Review – And When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007)

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Title – And When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007)

Director – Anand Tucker (Leap Year)

Cast – Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent, Matthew Beard, Juliet Stevenson, Carey Mulligan

Plot – Blake (Firth) the now middle aged son of the dying Arthur (Broadbent) looks back on their life together that wasn’t always as clear cut as others may’ve thought.

“You should never ever wish anyone dead. What if it became true?”

Review by Eddie on 10/02/2016

Based on British author Blake Morrison’s memoir and directed by Shopgirl’s Anand Tucker, And When Did You Last See Your Father? is a beautifully made and understated little gem that is one of the most affecting and touching tales of father/son relationships that’s been seen on screen and packs an emotional kick that very few films can muster.

There’s a rawness and honesty to Father, something that can only be attained from someone’s personnel and relatable experience, obviously something Father inherits from Morrison’s source material. Tucker’s direction is superb, he does a great job of capturing both the trials and triumphs of a father son relationship and Morrison’s was a tricky one, with his unique fathering style from doctor and larrikin Arthur occurring. Where Father truly succeeds is in making us care for this man despite him not always being all that honest or even all that kind, but his human, flaws and all.

At the heart of this tale is the great pairing of British mainstay Jim Broadbent and everyone’s favourite stuttering king Colin Firth. While the young Blake is played by Matthew Beard the real heart and soul of the film stems from Firth’s older Blake dealing with the ailing family patriarch as he tries desperately to share one more “moment” with his father who’s health and mind is failing him. Broadbent and Firth bring a quiet gravitas to proceedings and they don’t feel or seem to be actors playing these real life figures, they in many ways become them. These two accomplished performers ad greatly to the realness of Tucker’s film and are a huge reason as to why Father feels so different from many such family dramas of the same nature.

It’s got its faults and flaws like the characters at the heart of its tale but Father slowly builds to an emotional payoff that is both life affirming and uniquely touching. It asks and answers questions that will be relatable to anyone from anywhere that is part of a family and particularly for those that happen to be a son to a father.  A lovely film, And When Did You Last See Your Father? is an underrated gem worthy of your time and easily one of the most accomplished films about the relationship between parents and children that’s been produced in quite some time up until this very day.

4 poorly chosen camping spots out of 5

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