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One man and his dog (plus son). Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor.
One man and his dog (plus son). Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor.
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(15) 105mins

Director: Mike Mills

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

I HAVE to confess I wasn’t really epecting this film to be particularly good.

It was flagged up as a comedy involving a man who discovers on the death of his mother that his father is actually gay.

Queue raucous laughter as the son is embarrassed by his father’s antics?

Except this isn’t a laugh a minute evening of fun - it’s a gentle comedy with some classy acting and a well crafted story by director Mills, using some of his own life experiences.

True, the father figure Hal (Plummer) reveals he is gay but this sets off a mass of complicated emotions for his son Oliver (McGregor).

Having had a close relationship with his mother (a brilliant character played superbly by Mary Page Keller), how does the son comes to terms with his father’s gay lover?

How does he accept the fact his father is dying, just five years after losing his mum?

And how does a woman he falls for fit into all this emotional turmoil?

It may sound a bit deep and leaning towards lots of hand-wringing, but that’s where the movie excels.

Under Mills’ control we are guided skilfully on an emotional trip without losing our way.

With such subject matter, an injection of humour is vital and it comes in the surprising form of a Jack Russell.

It may sound strange but the dog has some of the best lines.

Plummer is terrific, providing a real sense of glee as Hal casts off the shackles of pretence.

McGregor’s American accent does slip occasionally to his native brogue but it’s easy to forget this lapse in an otherwise quality piece of acting.

Laurent as his love interest is a beautifully intense actress and is one of the movie’s highlights.

Overall, this is a delightful analysis of emotions as the characters attempt to begin new relationships.

four out of five stars

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley