I rather enjoyed this movie, although ultimately I thought it failed to deliver on what it tried to accomplish.
The movie intertwines two stories. The first is a story of a father as seen in the present by an estranged
adult son. The second is the story of the same father as remembered by the son as a boy growing up.
The boyhood image of the father was magical, mythical, and bigger than life. The boyhood image of the
father was also, the adult son now realizes, mostly fiction. It was based, not on the father's actual life, but on
tall tales the father related to the young son. This bittersweet contrast of the boyhood and adult views of the
father provides the tension that propels the emotional impact of the movie. The portions of the story that are based
on the boyhood images, are told from a magical childhood point of view; powerful if the film viewer can adopt
this point of view, otherwise silly and bizzare. My primary problem with the movie is the ending. The
writer/director apparently just could not let this bittersweet tension stand. In the end, when the father
dies, all of the fantastical characters from the boyhood past show up at the funeral. I guess the audience is
all supposed to go home sappy happy that the boyhood memories were validated and
really based on fact after all. I went home
wishing Hollywood could allow a genuine theme to play itself out rather than having a sappy ending
lopped on. Nevertheless, I would recommend this movie -- for a more genuine
getting up and leaving when the
funeral scene starts.
I gave this movie a rating of 3 stars.