Monday, October 12, 2009


By D.E.Levine

Director: Scott Hicks
Writers: Allan Cubitt (screenplay) and Simon Carr (memoir)
Cast: Clive Owen, Emma Booth, Laura Fraser, George MacKay and Nicholas McAnulty
Producers: Greg Brenman and Tim White
Executive Producers: Peter Bennett-Jones, Clive Owen, David Thompson and Jane Wright
Co-producer: Bella Wright
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Country of Origin: Australia - United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: Biographical, Drama

Forced to be a better parent after the untimely death of his wife, Joe Warr is a British expatriate working as a sports journalist in Australia.

Through flashbacks we see how Joe's marriage to second wife Katy was cut short when she succumbed to cancer. Joe must suddenly face the reality of work, grocery shopping, dishes, house cleaning, laundry and all the other mundane tasks that are part of life.

With a young six-year-old boy to raise without a mother, and an inherent uneasiness with full-time fatherhood, the father-son relationship is complicated and made more so by the fact that young Artie frequently acts out because he's too young to realize the full import of his mother's death.

Warr implements a different type of child rearing with as few rules as possible. It doesn't appear to be working and is exacerbated by the arrival of his teenage son Harry, from his first marriage, arrives for an extended stay. Harry's arrival brings an entirely new set of father-son issues.

Together, father and sons struggle to create a working but somewhat unorthodox household. Conflicts arise as young Artie is now forced to share his only parent with his older brother who is a stranger. Harry never understood why his father left and has always felt abandoned despite his academic understanding of the concept of divorce and his father moving to Australia where his second wife resided.

With extreme leniency comes a cluttered house and rumpled clothes, piles of laundry and dirty dishes, and basic lack of housekeeping. Also necessary is the need to accommodate the boys and for the Dad to be there for them, even when his job requires him to be away. Conflict arises and must be resolved.

Many mistakes are made along the way as the solo Dad tries to helm the family without experience or a manual. A love develops and a relationship grows between the brothers that will also influence the father.

In the end, the mistakes that are made and what are learned from them lead to a resolution of the conflicts between Dad and sons and an adoption of a new way of life.