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Starring: Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, Anthony Hopkins
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Drama directed and co-written by Florian Zeller. The Son (2022) centers on Peter (Hugh Jackman), who has a busy life with his new partner, Beth (Vanessa Kirby), and their baby. However, their life is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife, Kate (Laura Dern), turns up with their teenage son, Nicholas (Zen McGrath), who no longer feels he can stay with his mother. Peter tries to care for Nicholas as he wishes his own father had cared for him. But by reaching for the past to correct its mistakes, he loses sight of how to hold onto the Nicholas in the present.
Kate: We need to talk.
Peter: You can’t just show up here with no warning.
Kate: I tried you, I don’t know how many times. But you don’t pick up your phone.
Peter: What’s the problem?
Kate: It’s Nicholas.
Peter: Has something happened?
Kate: He’s not well. You need to speak to him. I don’t know what to do anymore. He needs you, Peter. You can’t just abandon him.
Peter: I’m not abandoning him. Why do you keep saying these things?
Kate: [referring to Nicholas] He scares me.
Peter: [to Nicholas] Listen, I know you’re having a hard time at the moment, and you’re mad at me, but that’s not a reason for us not to talk to each other.
Nicholas: I want something to change, but I don’t know what.
Nicholas: I’d like to live with you.
Peter: With me?
Nicholas: I feel like my head’s exploding.
Nicholas: Sometimes I just feel that I’m going crazy, Dad.
Peter: What are you talking about?
Nicholas: I’m telling you. I don’t know what’s happening to me.
Peter: Come on. Don’t worry, sweetheart. We’ll work it out. Trust me.
Peter: He’s my little boy.
'There are some things in life you just don't do.' - Peter (The Son) Click To Tweet
Peter: I feel guilty. I can’t pretend I’m not responsible for the situation. I left, Beth. I left.
Beth: But it’s not your fault if he’s not well. He’s going through a difficult time.
Peter: Anyway, I don’t think I have a choice. I can’t just give up on him.
Beth: Theo didn’t wake you up last night?
Beth: God, you’re so lucky. The same as your dad. Literally nothing wakes him up. That expression “sleeping like a baby” really, it should be “sleeping like a man”.
Beth: Are you unhappy? Why are you unhappy?
Nicholas: I don’t know.
Beth: You don’t know? Does this happen a lot? That you just start crying like this for no reason?
Nicholas: I’m not crying.
Nicholas: [referring to Peter] When he left, my mom took it really hard. She really suffered. She never stopped saying terrible things about him. And the whole time I still worshiped him. It was like I was being chopped in half.
Nicholas: [referring to Peter] When you met him. The fact you knew he was married, and had a son, it didn’t stop you?
Beth: What do you want me to say, Nicholas?
Nicholas: Nothing. You’re right. I don’t know why I’m asking you. It’s stupid.
Beth: No, it’s not stupid.
'It's better to see something in a dark light than to not see it at all.' - Beth (The Son) Click To Tweet
Therapist: You said you don’t feel very close to people your age?
Therapist: Why is that?
Nicholas: I just think they’re stupid. All they care about is having parties and having fun. I’m not interested in any of that.
Kate: I don’t understand where this sadness comes from.
Peter: He’s a teenager, Kate. I mean, ever seen a teenager radiating happiness?
Kate: He’s different from the others.
Peter: What makes you say that? If you ask me, he’s been disappointed in love.
Kate: It’s possible. He is so romantic. Guess where he gets that from.
Kate: I feel like a complete failure.
Peter: What are you talking about? Kate, you’re not a failure in any way.
'Sometimes I feel like I'm not made for this life. And I can't deal with any of it. Even so, I try, every day, with all my strength.' - Nicholas (The Son) Click To Tweet
Kate: [to Peter] When you think about it, there was so much joy in our family back then. I don’t know what happened.
Peter: You’re a wonderful mother. It’s not your fault if he’s going through a rough patch. It’s just, soon everything will go back to normal. Yes, it will. It will. Believe me, Kate. Everything will be fine.
Kate: You think so?
Beth: [as Peter is dancing for them] You see why I instantly fell in love with him?
Nicholas: Who wouldn’t?
Peter: I’m irresistible.
Beth: When he starts, everyone else stops in the room. It’s like he just can’t help drawing attention to himself.
Peter: [after Beth finds a knife hidden under Nicholas’s mattress] I don’t understand it. I mean, he seems to be doing well, doesn’t he? He’s going to school. He’s smiling. He’s better. So why is he doing this?
Beth: Look, don’t worry. He’s probably still a bit fragile. But he knows you’re here for him. I’m sure you’re going to figure it out.
Peter: You think so?
'I'm in pain. All the time. And I'm tired. I'm tired of being in pain.' - Nicholas (The Son) Click To Tweet
Peter: I don’t want you to hurt yourself. Do you understand me?
Nicholas: I don’t hurt myself.
Peter: Look at those scars. That’s what I call hurting yourself!
Nicholas: It’s the opposite.
Nicholas: [referring to hurting himself] It relieves me.
Peter: Relieves you of what? It relieves you of what, Nicholas?
Nicholas: When I’m in pain, it’s a way to channel the pain.
Peter: When you hurt yourself, it’s as if you’re doing it to me.
Nicholas: And when you hurt mom, you were doing it to me.
Anthony: No, the problem these days is, people are scared of everything. Just look around you. Bunch of sniveling cowards. Nobody ever wants to take any kind of a risk anymore.
'In these circumstances, love is not enough. Love will not be enough.' - Doctor Harris (The Son) Click To Tweet
Peter: [referring to Nicholas] He’s come to live with me, and he’s improving, but I think he’s still a little fragile. So I just wouldn’t want to be away when he’s… What?
Anthony: Is that why you came to see me? To tell me what a good dad you are?
Anthony: [to Peter] So, you’re still at it, huh? Really? Blaming me for what happened, what, forty years ago? Still trying to show me what a model dad you are? Wow. So, what do you want? Applause? Bravo.
Anthony: Listen, if it suits you, I can easily take on the role of monster, and bow to your perfection. Yes, you have suffered so much. And your daddy was not nice to you, nor to your momma. Fine. So what? Don’t you think it’s time you started growing up? Because, believe me, it is pathetic. Watching a man of fifty chained to the teenager he once was. If you want my advice, Peter, just f***ing get over it, for God’s sake. Just f***ing get over it. Please.
Beth: [to Nicholas] Little word of advice, if you want to go on having a life, do not have a kid. I’m joking.
Peter: You always see things in such a dark light.
Beth: It’s better to see something in a dark light than to not see it at all!