1 September 2005 | gradyharp
The Spectrum of Relationships Between Fathers and Sons
In many ways this film, originally made for Showtime audiences, feels like a triptych: there are three stories here written and directed by three men - Rodrigo García, Jared Rappaport, Rob Spera - with the unifying thread being that the three stories deal with three families who live on the same street. The technique of creating and producing each story is different, some more successful than others, but it does serve to enhance the concept that no two fathers and sons have the same sort of relationship.
In one story there is an overbearing father, obsessive compulsive in his parenting to offset his own feeling that his father wasn't involved with him. When the stronger parent (the mother) dies, and the man's father dies, he is left to watch the maturing of a son he really doesn't know. In the second family the distant pilot father (a fine John Mahoney) is adulterous, has a crumbling marriage, and tries to understand his gay son's life and lifestyle (the son here being portrayed by Ron Eldard in his consistently fine tradition of character development). How he interacts with his son when his son's first love succumbs to AIDS is the glue that mends his life. And in the third story the cantankerous father is dying and his successful lawyer son (Gale Harold) returns home to prove that indeed he has fulfilled his father's expectations only to discover the longer for intimacy at the end of the father's life.
The families are loosely connected and the name of the street on which they all live serves as the name of each of the three segments. A good idea, a bit of varying showmanship of concept, and in the end it all works fairly well. The actors are consistently fine with some cameos by older actors we haven't seen in a while. There are no solutions to father/son roles here, only a gentle exploration of how important the impact of that relationship is on forming future lives. Recommended. Grady Harp