Review: 'About My Father' isn't a warm hug but like a rare & precious pat on the back from your father
Robert De Niro is making experiments and exhibiting his versatility as an actor at 79. That's it! That is the statement.
About My Father
Robert De Niro is making experiments and exhibiting his versatility as an actor at 79. That's it! That is the statement. The acting legend might be most famous for his roles in 'those mafia' films but with some lighter and breezy comedies in the past few years, he continues to remind us about his sheer range.
In About My Father, De Niro stars as a grumpy old man Salvo Maniscalco, a father to a middle-aged Sebastian as he continues to come terms with an array of things. Salvo is indeed the most relatable character there can be and there might be more instances than one where you might be going - 'hey, my father is exactly like that', 'hey my uncle is exactly like that'.
Having had the chance to the film beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
A Good Balance of Comedy & Emotions
With films like these, the act of going overboard is the easiest thing to do. Either you can go 'too funny' to an extent where it just becomes unfunny or you go 'too emotional' in an attempt to shed the lack of good comedy. That isn't the case with About My Father. The film manages to strike a decent balance between some chuckles, some laugh-out-loud moments and having the emotional core that is imperative.
There was a moment till the climax where I felt the core emotion was missing but it did well to round things up thus leaving you feel warm in your heart with a smile on your face. It is the comedy though that lands in almost every intended situation. Apart from some hilarious one-liners, there a couple of situational gags as well making sure you are entertained.
Not a Warm Hug But a Rare & Precious Pat on the Back
One of the most original things about the film is how it never resorts to cliches just to strike up a funny instance or even an emotional one. It relies on creating some innovative plot changes to make sure that a rather predictable story stays afloat and doesn't lose your attention.
Films like these usually feel like a warm hug which is of course endearing - but staying true to the equation of a grumpy father and a middle-aged son, this film more so feels like that rare pat on the back from your usually inexpressive father. Amazingly, that pat on the back usually means a lot is more precious than the warm hug because it is rare and almost seems hard-earned. About My Father gives you that in a really fulfilling manner.
The Forgiving Runtime Helps in Bland Situations
Another certainty with such breezy films can be how easily they can feel monotonous owing to the predictability of the storyline and more so on running out of funny moments. What helps in such situations is having a taut screenplay. About My Father doesn't exactly have that where it does feel extended and lingering around the sole matter in question for repeated instances inspite of its quirks but what helps it the most - is its forgiving runtime of just about 91 minutes.
Powered by heart-warming and funny performances by Robert De Niro, Sebastian Mansicalco, Leslie Bibb and Kim Cattrall, About My Father is exactly the fun and soothing watch we are yearning to see amid the madness going on in other films coming out one after the other. For a change, take your father to see the film, get back on your theatre recliner, grab some popcorn and in the end, get that awkward yet lovable fist bump from him which would mean the world indeed.
Rating - *** (3/5)