11 February 2010 | inkblot11
Weathering life's tempests is not for sissies, as this dark-but-worthy film aptly shows; do NOT see it if you are easily depressed
David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is an affable weather reporter on local Chicago television. He is well liked and may even be in the running for a bigger gig on a national morning show out of NYC. However, away from the cameras, things are very different. For one, David's father, Robert Spritzer (Michael Caine) is a famous writer who has cast enormous footprints for his son to follow. Now, news comes that his dad is seriously ill. In addition, David is divorced from his beautiful wife, Noreen (Hope Davis) and has trouble connecting with his children, teenage Michael (Nicholas Hoult) and twelve year old Shelley. Shelley, especially, is a point of concern, for she is slightly overweight and the object of school bullies, on occasion. Although David tries to ignite her interest in hobbies, such as archery, Shelley remains very aloof. It is, in fact, Robert, who has the better relationships with his granddaughter, grandson, and ex-daughter-in-law. Therefore, while Daivd continues to let a smile be his umbrella, on the news, he is juggling major problems with his family AND pursuing the chance to be a bigtime weatherman on a national show. Will he be able to maintain his sanity? This is a dark, dark film, in the vein of American Beauty, but, alas, not quite as good or cohesive as that Oscar-winning movie. However, Cage, as usual, does an excellent job as the very mixed-up local television star and, be still dear hearts, he looks very handsome. The rest of the cast is also superlative in their difficult roles, especially Caine as the highly intelligent and refined author. The scenery in and around Chicago is mostly bleak, as the film takes place in winter while the costuming and camera work are excellent. Thus, the film's deficiencies stem mostly from an uneven script and a very slow-moving pace. Yet, despite this, the movie has some sharp observations to make about the human condition. If you are in a depressed mood, DO NOT see this one, as it can lay low the most optimistic of folks. But, if you are a fan of Cage, Caine, or the other cast members or if you have a yen to ponder the dark side of life, this flick does offer much food for thought, indeed.