And When Did You Last See Your Father?

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner3/10/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Watchable drama with superb performances from a strong cast, though it ultimately feels too self-indulgent to be emotionally engaging.

What's it all about?
Based on the memoir by Blake Morrison and directed by Anand Tucker, this stars Colin Firth as Blake, a successful author whose blustering father, Arthur (Jim Broadbent) has never given him the praise he craves. When Arthur is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Blake is devastated and rushes to his bedside, hoping to achieve some sort of emotional closure before it's too late.

Arthur's deteriorating health triggers a series of flashbacks in which we see Blake's troubled relationship with his father over the years, from when he was a boy (Bradley Johnson) to when he was a teenager (Matthew Beard). There are good memories too but they're distinctly outweighed by the bad ones, such as Blake's conviction that his father was having an affair.

The Good
If you want an actor who can do emotionally repressed, then Colin Firth is your man and he's as good here as you'd expect him to be, even if he's not exactly stretching himself. Broadbent is excellent and there's strong support from Juliet Stevenson (as Blake's mother) and from newcomer Matthew Beard.

The Bad
That said, the film completely wastes the delightful Carey Mulligan in a tiny part as a flirty waitress (though they've sneakily included her on the posters) and Elaine Cassidy isn't given nearly enough to do as the au pair girl who becomes Blake's secret lover.

However, the film's biggest problem is that the script is both trite and ridiculously self-indulgent. For example, Blake's issues seem to stem from the fact that his father never said well done when he won a writing award and it's difficult to muster up a reaction other than a sarcastic boo hoo.

Worth seeing?
In short, And When Did You Last See Your Father? is the sort of drama that is perfectly acceptable as a Sunday evening TV movie, but doesn't really deserve the big screen treatment.

Film Trailer

And When Did You Last See Your Father?
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Content updated: 06/12/2019 05:48

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