27 July 2008 | Red-125
And When Did You Last Really See Your Son?
"And When Did You Last See Your Father?" (2007) is an English film directed by Anand Tucker. It reminded me of the U.S. film, "The Savages," because the central plot of both movies involves a dying father who has not lived an exemplary life. Jim Broadbent is superb as Arthur, an obviously wealthy man who nevertheless goes through life cheating and manipulating people in small ways. He has a bluff, hearty, hail-fellow-well-met personality that charms people who meet him for the first time. In reality, he bullies his son and cheats on his wife. (Juliet Stevenson is excellent in the supporting role of wife and mother, as is Matthew Beard who plays Blake as a teenager.)
Colin Firth is equally convincing as Arthur's son, Blake. He's a successful award-winning writer, who nonetheless sees himself as perpetually in his father's shadow. Both men must come to grips with the situation when Arthur develops terminal cancer.
Broadbent and Firth look like each other, so it's easy to accept them as father and son. The film unfolds in an intelligent and interesting fashion. It's both artistically satisfying and philosophically challenging. I think the movie has been underrated by IMDb viewers. It's low key and thoughtful, but that's what it's supposed to be. There's nothing about it that struck me as artificially artistic. It's an honest and effective film, and worth seeking out and seeing.