Hugh Jackman plays Peter in Florian Zeller’s “The Son” presented at the Venice Film Festival; there is talk of a father who, after a divorce, has to learn to take care, again, of his son, whose precarious mental health shows how fragile and vulnerable men (all) can also be.
Florian Zeller had previously struck Venice and subsequently the Academy, earning an Oscar for the incredible screenplay of “The Father”. The film presented in these days in Venice, “The Son”, it therefore seems a necessary second chapter of investigation on father – son relationship. The point of view, however, is completely different: the plot unfolds within a family affected by the divorce of parentsin which a father has to deal with the reconstruction of the relationship with his son and with the mental health of a teenager who does not find space for comparison or people similar to him anywhere.
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An exceptional cast stages a previous play by the same director Zellerturned into film thanks to the performances of Hugh Jackman (Peter), Vanessa Kirby (his new partner Beth), Laura Dern (ex-wife Kate) and Zen McGrath (the son of Peter and Kate, Nicholas). “Pieces of a woman”, starring the actress Kirby told the female frailty and the difficulty of dealing with a miscarriage; Laura Dern in the unforgettable role of lawyer has already been in contact with the subject of divorce in “Story of a wedding”, while Jackman apparently looks like a fish out of water. But it is precisely his previous calcification in the role of the most virile Wolwerine making it the ideal face to reflect on vulnerability of the fathers and, in general, of men.
Tales of frail fathers
In the movie, Peter he is a businessman who has to divide his time between his job, his newborn baby with his new partner, his ex-wife and his teenage son who, due to the separation of his parents and the absence that his father had shown up to that point. moment, she falls into a depression that struggles to get out of herself, to ask for help.
A plot that has also struck the leading actor in the heart, Jackman, who in an interview in Venice revealed how: “For many, many years as a parent, my job has been to appear strong and reliable and never worried and I don’t want to burden my children. But surely after this film I changed my approach. I share my vulnerabilities more with my boys, who are 17 and 22. And I see their relief when I do it ”.
In “The Son”in fact, personal isolation is not only characteristic of the child, but of all the characters, including the father. During the press conference, the actor adds: “There is a shame, there is a sense of guilt, there is an intense desire to fix things… Until we realize our helplessness. I can relate to this aspect as a parent. Admitting its existence and setting an example with that vulnerability leads to the possibility of really being able to understand and empathize with the people around you. To walk in their shoes and have an honest perception … Hopefully, this film will give rise to a discussion: let’s hope that The Son remind us that we never have to worry alone ”.
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The topic of the mental health of young people
The pivot around which the lives of the characters in the film revolve is the mental health, especially that of the young adolescent who for the first time finds himself grappling with his own individual difficulties and the social expectations that others place on him. According to Jackman, but the film itself tells us, “Men are just as vulnerable as women. To the boys, however, he asks himself to become men, while girls become women without the pressure of not having to be vulnerable ”. As the actor reiterates in the press conference after the screening of the film at the Venice Film Festival, “sometimes love is not enough“, And this means that for the growth and emotional development of a boy it is necessary that he be provided with” a village “, that is a social network ready to welcome him and to accompany him without judgment on his training path.
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