Opening 26 Jan 2023
Writing credits: Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
Principal actors: Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Anthony Hopkins, Zen McGrath
Peter (Hugh Jackman) has an infant son with his new wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby). This happy family unit is soon upended and the past is examined when Peter’s ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern) asks for help with their teenage son Nicholas (Zen McGrath). Peter must come to terms with what happened in his first happy family in order to be a good father to both his sons, and a good husband to his current wife. His journey finds him wondering what the sins of his father have brought upon him. Leading him to challenge his father Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) as well as his own philosophy of what being a good man is.
The cast is stellar and the performances were mostly solid, however the interpersonal relationships and dealing with the topics of divorce, teenage depression, and absent fathers were not well executed. After The Father (2020), part of the trilogy by Florian Zeller, I was expecting more or perhaps I couldn’t relate with this topic as I could with the topic from The Father. The takeout is nonetheless very important. What we do impacts the next generation and maybe the one after unless we are able to address our faults. Generational trauma is an issue that modern society has yet to address although it is a real and immediate threat to many in the world in which we live. Perhaps The Mother, the third play in the trilogy, if it is released as a film, will be more relatable. (Christine Riney)