By Reno Rangan


About a Father and His Two Little Girls Who Have Been There For Each Other

Based on real life events of the director’s childhood and it is her first directional film as well. Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana play her on screen father and mother respectively, while her character as a 12 year old girl was played by her own daughter. I think it was a great team, the mother is the director, the daughter performing under her, the father producing it and it is their story.

I was worried that this film was going to emotionally hurt me as I’m an easy target to strike with a theme like this with what the synopsis says and the trailer revealed. But I was prepared for that, I wanted to have a tearjerker flick and in the end I had a great time with it as the fulfillment was way beyond what I expected.

It was the story of a small family, a father and a mother and their two little girls that is set in the 1978 Boston city. Because of the condition of the father, the struggling family whose children are growing up needs a financial support for their better education and care. So the mother decides to sacrifice a few years of hers to go back to college to graduate and get a job. Now it’s between the father and the girls, how they spend those years together, which will be their worst nightmare as well as the best years of their lives.

“We’ll be braver, Daddy. Next time, I promise we’ll be braver.”

It really scared me a few times, because of the temperament of the father character, kids playing with a machete and so on. A wonderful family flick, but only for adults because there is too much cigarette smoking, I mean Mark Ruffalo smoked almost all the way in his onscreen presence and obviously the excessive usage of foul language is the other reason.

So it is an R rated flick, but it was so perfect, the 70s atmosphere was spot on. Except the only thing bothering me thing was the children never grew physically, while the cars, clothing style, society, cameras, the timeline kept changing. But it did not leap extremely forward like a decade or something. That was not a big issue, while the film and its story telling kept the rhythm always on the high. Yep, there are no dull moments, whenever it began to sink under the emotion, it repelled back with the same force which is why I was hooked all the way. By the way I thought those innocent family sentiments were strongly appealing in a cute manner.

Now we talk about the roles. Mark Ruffalo definitely deserves an Oscar nomination. But I can’t declare the award for him as I have to find out how the other actors performed in their films. This is his best film in a lead I have seen, probably his career best. To me it is this year’s version of last year’s JK Simmons performance for the movie Whiplash.

“Our dad is totally polar bear.”

On the other side, Zoe Saldana was as usual in a charming and polite character as I know she never disappoints her fans. Ruffalo and Saldana are one of the best onscreen pairing, looked so real, like a real couple. The two little girls were also awesome in their debuting film. The entire movie’s focus was with these four members, very occasionally outside characters come into play with hardly any lines to deliver. I wondered what the meaning of the title is and if you’re focused you won’t miss the explanation, which was so cute.

An amazing fusion between the incredible narration and the background score. The tracks (some of them are not OST) as well were very good that played till the credits rolled out. I liked ‘The Pirate Song’ that was written by the director and ‘Oogum Boogum’ was funny. Many of them I heard for the first time and I’m thinking of grabbing them for my movie song collection. Overall, it will surely transform your mood by the end of the movie, I mean in a good way.

Inspiring, yes the film inspires to have our own little family with kids. Especially from the perspective of a father and his great responsibility was portrayed tremendously. And also the girls who saved their father from being lost. They stayed for each other and stayed that way as how a parent and his children should be as an example, but in a little harsh human nature.

It is a rare gem, undoubtedly completely enjoyable. This was one of those that came silently into production. The earlier posters were unimpressive and made me stay away, but now it’s turned out to be one of my favorite flicks from 2015. Obviously movie fanatics loved this heartwarming family drama and I highly recommend it. As usual like I always say, whether you like it or not, but don’t miss it.

Rating: 9/10



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