"When Did You Last See Your Father?" ignores standard Hollywood wisdom: Keep the title short and catchy. Avoid flashbacks. The action should be external, not internal. Make films that appeal to teenage boys. And most of all, don't do stories about old, dying people.
"When Did You Last See Your Father?" is based on Blake Morrison's heart wrenchingly honest autobiographical bestseller. It is the story of the forty year old writer's attempts to resolve his troubled relationship with his father as he deals with his immanent death. Collin Firth courageously portrays the estranged son's sometimes unlikable sentiments of resentment, frustration, confusion, and disappointment tinged with compassion for his fading father. Being home brings back memories of coming of age in his charismatic father's shadow and discovering some hard realities about the man. Thanks to Jim Broadbent's dynamic performance, we can see why the son was once proud of him - even though he never felt his father's approval. Blake goes on an internal journey where he finds that he has some of his father's weaknesses. He must decide what kind of man he is to become. At first, the film's lengthy title seems to accuse the grown son of neglecting his father. But by the end, we discover that the title actually asks, "When was the last time you really saw your father - without your own feelings of inadequacy and resentment getting in the picture? When was the last time you saw love?"
If you are longing for a true life drama, go see, "When Did You Last See Your Father?" this weekend. With our attendance, we are sending a message to Hollywood that we want more films that reflect our lives.