Hugh Jackman stars in The Son as a bewildered father trying to deal with his teenage son’s depression and alienation.
Jackman’s Peter is a successful New York lawyer at the peak of his career, building a new life with his second wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby) and their first baby.
Their domestic bliss is rudely shattered by a distress call from Peter’s first wife Kate (Laura Dern), saying she cannot cope any more with their 17-year-old son Nicholas (Zen McGrath), who has dropped out of school and lost his way.
The upshot is that Nicholas comes to live with Beth and Peter, who are soon at their wits’ end trying to deal with the boy.
This is a new experience for Peter, a workaholic who loves his job, loves his wife and his baby and is used to succeeding at everything he has to deal with.
He is shocked when he finds that Nicholas has dropped out of school again, that he doesn’t seem to care that his final exams are imminent and seems to have no friends or purpose for his life.
Peter tries everything, from loving acceptance to anger and bullying, but nothing seems to get through Nicholas’s wall of deep depression.
Jackman, in a role far removed from his current Broadway smash hit The Music Man, is brilliant as the desperate father who cannot understand the depth of his son’s despair.
He feels guilty, too: “I wasn’t there for him.”
And his second wife Beth is struggling: “Your other son needs you as well – and you are at work all of the time.”
The Son follows French writer/ director Florian Zeller’s The Father, which saw Anthony Hopkins win an Oscar for his remarkable performance as a man struggling with dementia.
Hopkins is again riveting in a cameo role in The Son, as the tough-talking father who neglected his own relationship with his wife and son in his pursuit of wealth and success.
This is not an easy film, despite the fine performances of Jackman and Hopkins in particular. It is unrelentingly sad in its depiction of the aftermath of a broken marriage.
The Son is now showing at Luna Leederville, Luna On SX, The Windsor, Luna Outdoor and Camelot Outdoor.
Watch the trailer…