Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for goo... Read allSet during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.
The hook: Ben (Ed Harris), a world-famous photographer, is terminal. Before he dies, he wants to drive from New York to Parsons, Kansas to develop old rolls of Kodachrome film that he's been saving for years. Accompanying him are his nurse Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) and his estranged son Matt (Jason Sudeikis), who reluctantly agrees to join and only does so because he wants to meet with a band in Chicago and convince them to sign with his label.
Each of the three have their demons. Ben is an insufferable jerk, Matt is divorced and dysfunctional, Zoe is also divorced and dysfunctional. But they're all together by choice, so they're still trying.
If you think you can tell where this is going, you're probably right. Pretty much scene-by-scene it's predictable. This certainly lessens the impact, but the performances and dialogue will keep you engaged.
Credit goes to the actors and the writers for making these characters and relationships feel lived in and real. The tension and acrimony between father and son showcase themselves almost immediately. Their dialogue cuts deeply, and the cruelty of the barbs they exchange startles.
Zoe plays the role of conscience, doing her best to help these two hard-headed boys settle their differences before it's too late. As soon as Matt puts his sword away and begins to show a lighter side, Zoe notices, and the viewers notice her noticing. Again, it's not hard to predict where any of this is going.
Zoe's character is frustratingly underwritten and underused. But the Matt and Ben relationship is well executed. The hostility feels real and so does the longing to connect, despite what has happened in the past.
The film offers some mixed messages about letting go of the past, which haunts each of the main characters in some way. A crucial monologue urges them to move forward, yet they're driving across the country to develop old film and preserve old photos. It's also ironic that a movie that romanticizes film is streaming on Netflix.
This film has meaningful messages to share, even if it's not entirely clear about everything it's saying. If you don't mind a formulaic family drama with moving and warm moments, this movie isn't a bad pick.
- Aug 6, 2018