Superbly crafted film, great performances and genuinely touching
No other actor could have played Jim Broadbent's part. He's fantastic
as the stout father, who can never quite relay his intimate feelings
and emotions to his son, who is played with understated brilliance by
Colin Firth. Sarah Lancashire deserves a mention, who has a small part
but delivers with consistent aplomb (she's great on the telly), and
Matthew Beard as the young Blake Morrison, upon whom the film and book
are auto-biographically based.
As his father lays on his deathbed, the son recounts his childhood
memories of the part his dad played in his life, whether funny, mean,
sad or eccentric. Smart direction plus great lead performances, at
least one of which is definitely worthy of an Oscar, adds to the
overall emotional connection with the audience and culminates with a
surprisingly touching ending, despite it's inevitability.
Having seen the film with my mum, who not only read the book by Blake
Morrison, but had a father much like the one portrayed in the film, I
found it all the more connectible. But this is not to say it is not for
everyone. I think we can all relate to the fathers who can never quite
express how they truly feel, and the childhoods spent moping and
dwelling on seemingly world-shattering things.
The cinema i saw this in had about ten people at most, which is
shocking! We need to see more British films like this, if just to keep
the British film industry going. It deserves to fill a theatre and gain
much more exposure than it currently has, regardless of those who might
say it would have been better placed on television.
It is a superb film, thoughtfully shot, very well written and a joy to
be in the company of for all of it's ninety minutes. And yes, I cried
at the end. Sniff. But maybe you will too..
Lights dimmed, phone unhooked, wine uncorked, then press PLAY.
Mirrors and reflections are the dominating forces here that project an
extremely beautiful and melancholy father and son relationship. As the
film progresses and the time-passages segue into both past and present
tense, throughout, we see what it is to feel regret, discontent and
anger. Seen through the eyes of the son, Blake, and his struggle to
overcome his overbearing fathers unconsciously selfish and dominating
carefree persona. This is a young child, a growing teen and now
middle-aged man who, after all the years gone by, is still failing in
his own personal duties to fully embrace the shortcomings and
inadvertent arrogance of his father.
Based on Blake Morrison's autobiographical account on his own
relationship with his father, the title in itself is a question that
comprises a poignant air of respect. Throughout, too, an engaging use
of mirrors is at the forefront of the narrative, a charming,
imaginative and very interesting metaphor of reflective reconciliation.
It is with this tone that director Anand Tucker finds a balance of dry
wit and sympathy concerning Jim Broadbent's outgoing and cancer-bearing
Arthur, Matthew Beard as the angst ridden, frustrated teenage son and
Colin Firth's older Blake and his reflective unhappiness.
And When Did You Last See Your Father? has the hallmarks of a wonderful
concoction of emotion: humour, empathy, sorrow and tenderness and with
the purely stunning and beautiful cinematography, as done by Howard
Atherton (Lassie, 2005), a script of deep regret, in all, shows more
than a beautiful and extremely touching vision of life.
Simply stunning. Simply beautiful. Simply breathtaking..