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SXSW 2021

SXSW 2021 Movie Review: Our Father

By: Rachel Ho

Sometimes you enjoy the ride of a movie but aren’t quite sure where it took you after it’s over. Our Father was just that for me.

When Beta (Baize Buzan) and Zelda (Allison Torem) learn that their father has passed away, they embark on a journey together to not only connect with his wife and their half-brothers, but also to find an uncle they didn’t even know existed. Along the way the two sisters re-build their own relationship and deepen their bonds.

Our Father deals with a lot of heavy themes — complex family dynamics, emotionally abusive relationships, and mental health — but still somehow manages to invoke a great deal of humour throughout the story. Buzan and Torem play their parts really well and have a very natural chemistry between them that was a pleasure to watch. Tim Hopper has a small role as Zelda’s boyfriend, Henry, and is equal parts funny and charming, grounding the movie when it needed a breath.

I found Our Father to be funny and heartwarming throughout but the landing just didn’t click with me. A lot of interesting issues are brought up but never fully explored to render a satisfying conclusion. I also fell into a trap of expecting the film to go one way and disappointed when it went another, which isn’t necessarily the fault of the director, Bradley Grant Smith.

The biggest instance was right at the beginning of the movie when we see Beta sleeping in her car and showing up to work not showered and dressed in the same clothes as the day before. I thought perhaps Our Father was going to look at homelessness through a perspective we don’t often see in movies. The reason for her temporary homelessness is interesting, complex, and layered (I won’t spoil it here), but ultimately it culminates and is resolved in one scene and then moved on from afterwards losing its overall impact.

Overall, it’s a well acted, enjoyable movie that touches on some really interesting topics that I would have loved to see fleshed out more. Also, shout out to Smith for writing one of the most exquisite lines I’ve heard in a movie about depression: “I feel like I’m trespassing just by being alive

Our Father currently has no wide North American release date

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