A Loving Father
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Writer Léo Shepherd lives in rural France together with his daughter Virginia, who manages his affairs. One day Virginia gets a call from the Swedish Academy. Léo has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. His estranged son Paul tries desperately to contact him, but is denied every time by his sister. When Léo starts traveling to the ceremony in Stockholm by motor bike, Paul decides to follow him and try to speak to him. Clearly Léo doesn't want to be followed, starts speeding and gets involved in a accident, but isn't badly hurt. The police confuse another motorist for Shepherd and announce his death. Paul, driven by his childhood experiences, decides to kidnap his father.
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As Paul opens up emotionally, and Leo reciprocates, we realize they're both damaged goods: The 28-year-old had a spell with drugs, and Leo, once an inveterate womanizer, confesses he's now dried up as a writer. More than once, the pic plays like a twisted version of Ingmar Bergman's '50s classic, "Wild Strawberries," also centered on a distinguished personality recalling his youth and shortcomings as he journeys to accept an award.
Jean-Claude Petit's orchestral score turns what could have been a by-the-numbers father-son drama into a kind of emotional thriller, and the sense of dislocation from reality is heightened by Berger's direction, which is speckled with offbeat touches and humor. (Helmer's only previous feature was the 1990 "Angels," followed by telemovie work.) Ending is refreshingly free of saccharine melodrama, with a dreamlike, ironic coda.
Supporting cast is solid, with Testud essaying another of her brittle roles as the daughter who can't bear to see her father squander his talent.
But the main show is between the two Depardieus, in a piece of casting that resonates beyond their roles onscreen. In this one pic, Gerard reclaims his position as one of Europe's finest actors, after a recent series of unwise choices. Here he settles comfortably into a late-middle-aged persona that doesn't rely on eccentricities or pure physicality, while Guillaume definitely comes of screen age."
frustrated feeling of being an adult with parents,or parent,who is SO narcissistic that no one else could possibly exist .
Leo Shepherd (Gerard Depardieu) is a self-absorbed writer who has won The Nobel Prize.He has two children:Virginia,who has been a surrogate to her Father, and Paul (Guillaume Depardieu),who has been the "screw-up"(as he has been lead to think of himself).These three relationships come to a head when,Leo, travelling to Stockhom Sweden to get The Nobel,skids off the road to avoid an accident.The world now thinks he is dead.Paul has been following Leo and picks him up,actually turning the whole scene into a kidnapping.What Paul wants is for his Father to LISTEN.Leo is virtually incapable of that!.YES WORLD,PEOPLE LIKE LEO DO EXIST!The plot thickens when Virginia discovers that her Father is not dead.All three characters have a final and VERY unpleasant and unrewarding EPIPHANY at the end of this film.Leo has never liked his children and his children have been suffering because of it their entire lives.I would not say that this is a GREAT film,but it does capture the thought that some people just should never have children.Having kids does not make you at all a fit and qualified parent.I KNOW THIS FIRST HAND.This film is good for anyone who is currently in therapy or dealing with the extreme damage that a dysfunctional and emotionally barren family can bring.The original French title is far more accurate:AIME MON PERE (MY loving father-almost tongue-in-cheek!)
A suggested companion film on the same subject would be THE MILL ON THE FLOSS.