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With Daddy Longlegs (formerly known as Go Get Some Rosemary), Josh and Benny Safdie have crafted a realistic fairy tale that captures the magic and perils of parenthood, invoking memories of their inventive dad from their own childhood.
Divorced and alone, Lenny (the perfectly cast Ronald Bronstein) is the father of two young boys he gets to see a couple of weeks a year. He cherishes these days with the kids, being both stern parent and lovable buddy, inventing myths and somehow living them, all while working overtime in the big city. When the going gets tough, Lenny uses some unusual, perhaps even hazardous, techniques to keep the kids safe from the world. Because of the film s fluid style, we feel that we are in the boxing ring alongside Lenny, as flawed as he is charismatic, champion of each day, yet totally black and blue. As the storm of society continually rains on him, Lenny laughs through it all. Isn t life crazy?
DVD Special Features Include:
Beautiful high-definition transfer, enhanced for widescreen viewing
Eight deleted scenes
"The Second Stop from Jupiter": A Making-Of Documentary
Go Get Some Rosemary Rehearsal test film
Animations, promotional shorts, and the Cannes trailer
A 20-page booklet of art and writings, with liner notes by Scott Foundas
Josh Safdie's While they're sleeping zine, featuring childhood photos of the filmmakers by their father
Top customer reviews
Lenny is a divorced father of two. He is immature and impulsive. He only gets to see his sons for two weeks out of the year, and he spends those weeks juggling his responsibilities (which he often shrugs aside) with his play time, which includes philandering with strangers and drinking, a lot. `Daddy Longlegs' follows the few weeks he has with his boys and shows the emotional depth Lenny possesses in his person. Lenny is a boy, not yet a man, who doesn't understand how to balance his duty as a father with his innate need to be a friend to his boys. He is careless and insensitive yet protective and loving. He sees his position as `father' as a blessing but he fails to understand that it is also a responsibility. As Lenny shuffles his kids around, handing them off to seemingly perfect strangers so as to carry on with his life as if they weren't there, we can see how the weight of parenthood has not fully rested on this man (possibly because of his overall lack of time spent with them). Still, as impractical as he is, Lenny's love for his children is often displayed with sincerity, keeping this man a rich example of what adolescent parenting can result in (although he is far from a child himself, he surely represents those `youthful' at heart).
The film's largest strength comes in the form of Ronald Bronstein. His performance as Lenny is magnetic and charismatic, full of a jovial life and presence that is never betrayed by a deeper understanding of his character's emotional flaws. The way he shifts, so effortlessly, from selfishness to frantic concern is authentic and deeply moving. It is a `small' performance in that Bronstein really finds the subtleness of his character, living in the moment and not allowing the moments themselves to oversell his character.
This film is not without flaw though. I found the film's conclusion to be a tad underdeveloped. It seemed a little jumpy, unfocused and confused and I found myself unsure of what was really taking place. I also found the dream sequence to be an awkward spot, something that was necessary to convey the point being made since Bronstein himself had been making that point the entire film (he builds those layers so marvelously). Still, like `Wendy and Lucy', `Daddy Longlegs' is a film that will say with you because the poignancy of the plot is so reaching. The film is anticlimactic on purpose because this isn't a film that goes anywhere specific; it is a film that captures a moment in time. All consequences are left for the audience to ascertain on their own.
The best way to envision this movie is to imagine Cosmo Kramer from the hit comedy series Seinfeld suddenly finding that he will become the full-time caretaker of his two small sons for a two-week period each year. Of course, Kramer never was married and never had children in the Seinfeld series, but Ronald Bronstein (who plays the father in Daddy Longlegs) could easily be Kramer's long-lost brother. Like Kramer, Bronstein's "Lenny" is tall with a long, funny, deeply lined face and an uncontrollable shock of hair on top. Like Kramer, Lenny is full of wild schemes that should produce a happy life--and often backfire in the gritty streets and high rises of New York City.
For anyone who is a fan of Seinfeld, and "gets" that style of wild-and-inventive urban humor, then Daddy Longlegs is a sometimes-amusing and sometimes-moving look at what a real-life Seinfeld world would do to children. You'll laugh. You'll worry. You'll cry. Lenny is far less funny than Kramer when two "real" kids' lives hang in the balance!
Nevertheless, for anyone who went through a traumatic childhood with a truly out-of-control parent, this can be a healing film. Especially watching the "extras" with the adult Safdie brothers working on the production of this movie, one realizes that--for all the weirdness their father showered down around them--they loved this always-down-on-his-luck Dad. Even in the film's final scenes, you won't know whether to be angry, to shed a tear or to smile in delight. Perhaps all three responses are appropriate as the final credits roll--and that's the mark of great filmmaking.