Here comes 'The Son,' and I say ... it's awful
Last Edit: WaymanWong 02:35 pm EST 01/28/23
Posted by: WaymanWong 02:30 pm EST 01/28/23

Anyone else catch ''The Son,'' Florian Zeller's movie version of his play ''Le Fils,'' starring Hugh Jackman?

It made its nationwide release last weekend on over 500 screens. It got some Oscar buzz last fall, and Jackman even got a Golden Globe nomination. Well, it won't be following the trajectory of Zeller's previous ''The Father,'' which got 6 Oscar nominations and won two of them: for Anthony Hopkins and Zeller's adapted screenplay. ''The Son'' was shut out for Academy nominations, and its Audience score at Rotten Tomatoes is 67% and its Critics rating is 26%. It's grossed a little more than $450,000 (or about $430 a screen), and might be one of 2023's earliest box-office bombs.

I've been a fan of Jackman's work on Broadway, notably in ''The Boy From Oz.'' I know his Harold Hill has been divisive on this board, but when I saw ''The Music Man,'' the audience ate him up with a spoon. I admire that his star power brought tons of people back to Broadway, post-COVID hiatus. Plus, he's such a mensch for raising millions for Broadway Cares.

Jackman deserves a much better movie to showcase his talents. In ''The Son,'' Jackman acts his heart out as a well-meaning father struggling to deal with his deeply depressed teenage son (played by Zen McGrath, who, alas, lacks the charisma of a Timothee Chalamet). I can't say I was a fan of ''The Father,'' but ''The Son'' is two hours of misery porn and such a misguided melodrama about mental health. You can see the doomed ending coming a mile away. And it confirms why, in terms of its Rotten Tomatoes ratings, ''The Son'' sits low (as low as it's going to go).

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