Vigo Mortensen makes his directorial debut in ‘Falling,’ and it is notable that this film was featured in several film festivals: Sundance, Cannes, Toronto and San Sebastian. The film is a story about a son (Mortensen) and a father, played by Lance Henriksen. Specifically it’s about a homophobic father and his gay son who has to take care of him. Needless to say, that set up piqued my interest, and was so looking forward to seeing this.
I knew this was going to be heavy, but perhaps it was way too heavy for me right now. It did feel like you were spending time with a belligerent elderly who is spewing bile remarks non-stop. It took my patience to even sit through some of the scenes, and I couldn’t help but keep wishing for the film to end. Perhaps the acting was too good and so believable? Mortensen plays his role subtly, a contrast to Henriksen’s over the top, and hysterical performance.
The film also lacks a bit of narrative. It gives us flashbacks to when the son was a kid, but the present story doesn’t bring you anywhere, and while I like a lot of the directorial choices, I am left to wonder what the film is trying to say.
‘Giant Little Ones’ now has the distinction of being the first movie for 2019 that has made me cry. Yes, yes I know that it is kind of easy to do that, but to be the first to make me ‘ugly cry’ is a good thing. I love coming-of-age stories, and this one is not necessarily a gay coming of age one – its message is more for fluidity. But nonetheless, it packs a lot of emotions in a touching story.
Frank (Josh Wiggins) has been best friends with Ballas (Darren Mann) until one night that somethign happens between them. It drives Ballas away, and complicates their friendship. But Franky isn’t necessarily gay – he is also attracted to Natasha, Ballas’ sister. Or maybe he is too young to really get the nuances of sexual attraction. It doesn’t matter, as the film teaches tolerance for young people to explore what is in their hearts. Wiggins is great, echoing a young Matt Damon with his floppy hair. We see his character very cool with their father – it turns out that he left their mother for another man (Kyle McLachlan and Maria Bello play his parents) and of course that makes matters more complicated. Sure there are a lot of politics and messages here that can be interpreted in very different ways, but I am not interested in that. This is a warm story that made my heart melt, and for me that is always worth more than anything else.
It’s always refreshing for me when I find a film that seems like it did not come from a factory. Everything in ‘What We Have’ is interesting, and unpredictable, but never manufactured or fake. It’s the story of Maurice, played by Maxime Desmons, who also wrote and directed this film. Maurice is an actor has moved from Paris to a small Northern Canadian town, and the locals are asking why he would ever move there. We find that he has a lot of demons inside him, and slowly these come out as he gets entangled in the life of Alan (Alex Ozerov) his French language student.
This is a very affecting story, and you at once get invested in these people’s lives. The story takes interesting twists and turns, and at times is very unsettling to watch – but it is extremely real and explores issues of loneliness, commitment phobia, and teenage bullying. It is exhilarating, and it never alienates. Desmons is fantastic, with just the right amount of detachment to make you feel for him as you feel his journey. It will leave you thinking about the characters even after the film has ended.