Saturday, April 17, 2010


Robert de Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell

"Frank wanted the holidays to be picture perfect.
What he got was family."

Cinema 4, Glorietta 4

A deeply poignant movie about Frank (Robert de Niro) a retired widower who decides to pay surprise visits to his 4 grown children. The reason is that all of them unexpectedly canceled on a planned family reunion. His trip which is against his doctor's orders takes him to New York, Denver, Chicago and Las Vegas.

As a father who still sees his kids as children and guided by the notion that they are all happy, he is the one surprised when things aren't exactly as rosy as he imagined them to be. It is a pretty sad movie yet at the same time an uplifting eye-opener. Both for the father and his adult children as secrets are revealed and there are several self discovery moments. For me though, the defining moment came at the end of the film where a simple painting conveyed a gamut of emotions.

Robert de Niro as Frank is highly convincing as the lonesome father who simply wanted to be updated about the lives of his children. A role now vacant since his wife died 8 months ago. At first I was appalled at the behavior of his kids who made it seem like he was intruding on their lives by showing up uninvited. Then eventually you realize they all had valid reasons to react that way.

The supporting cast were portrayed by good actors (Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale) and they significantly made the movie an emotionally dramatic tearjerker. So get your hankies ready. This film made me want to call my parents. And I surely did. That is after I dried my tears!

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