When Did You Last See Your Father?

When Did You Last See Your Father?

Movie: When Did You Last See Your Father?
Director: Jim Broadbent / Anand Tucker
Produced by: FilmFour, Intandem Films, Irish Film Board, Number 9 Films, U.K. Film Council
Released By: Sony Pictures Classics (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG13

Adapted from poet Blake Morrison’s best-selling memoir by screenwriter David Nicholls and directed for the screen by Anand Tucker, And When Did You Last See Your Father? explores — like its source material — the complex, manifold emotional layers of a father-and-son relationship as it shifts and evolves over the passing decades. At the film’s center is Blake Morrison himself, who for as long as he can remember has lived in the overarching shadow of his physician father, Arthur — falling prey to feelings of embarrassment from the old man, as well as occasional awe. In the 1950s, when Blake was a child, the boy watched as Arthur partook in socially uncouth behavior such as wheedling his way into clubs to which he didn’t belong, and carrying on an extramarital affair with the full knowledge of his wife, Kim. As the years passed, teenage Blake’s discomfort around his father hardened into resentment — particularly when the adolescent boy expressed interest in a girl, Rachel, who clearly preferred his father, compounding the situation, Blake then had to suffer through Arthur’s decision to publicly humiliate his son in front of everyone. The central dynamic has changed for the two, however, by the late ’80s, when Blake — now married to Kathy and freshly established as a successful novelist and poet — learns that Arthur has contracted terminal cancer. Now, the junior Morrison takes a headfirst plunge into the memories and recollections of his youth — and grapples with the dynamic of his relationship with Arthur for the first time in his life as he comes face to face with the need to provide loving care for the old man.

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