Football won’t last the whole weekend, so with the family gathered ’round, you might watch a film. Here are two short reviews of family-themed movies that you may want to consider.
The first is a Netflix movie: Tallulah. It’s not a family movie, but it does center around family. If you get my drift. The premise is that a homeless woman kidnaps a baby from a drunken housewife to raise on her own, and adventures ensue. Aside from a few genuinely affecting moments, Tallulah was mostly a failure from beginning to end. The actors did a great job of portraying unlikable characters who you can’t help but want to never see again for the rest of your life. Certain story elements required bizarre character decisions to move the plot forward, like the eponymous Tallulah character deciding, after kidnapping the baby, to re-visit her ex-boyfriend’s hostile mother for help. Nobody asked the right questions regarding the sudden appearance of the baby, and the resolution of the story was too pat. Tammy Blanchard was the stand-out as the horrible drunken mom who you love to hate. Frederic Lehne and John Benjamin Hickey played the same characters they always play on the screen. Allison Janney was a looming, stork-like presence. You probably have better things to do with your time than watch it. Two stars out of five.
The second film is called Little Boy. A piece of magical realism, it revolves around themes of family, grief, alienation, and friendship. In it, an eight-year-old boy named Pepper tries to make a deal, of sorts, with God to end World War II so his dad could come back home. It has all the elements of magical realism: unexpected (and bizarre humor), strange coincidences, and weird characters, wrapped around the solid core of faith. Some of the themes worked better than others, but it comes together in a powerful story. It’s dreadfully manipulative, yes, with plenty of tears for the audience, but this isn’t a subtle film, nor is it meant to be. Jakob Salvati, the actor who plays Pepper, turned in a terrific performance. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was great, as usual, as were Michael Rapaport and Tom Wilkinson. Just go see it and let me know what you think. Four stars out of five.
Have a great Thanksgiving.