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 experience, consider getting up and leaving when the funeral scene starts.
I gave this movie a rating of 3 stars.
Ron Boothe