Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Tell Them Who You Are

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Constant use of the f-word, other strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references, including adultery
Alcohol/Drugs:References to drinking, smoking, drugs
Violence/Scariness:Emotional confrontations, brief battle scenes
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2005

A young man sees someone he would like to meet, but he is shy and unsure of how to approach him. His father pushes him, saying, “Tell them who you are.” What he means is, “Tell them you’re my son.”

The father, two-time Oscar winner for cinematography, leftist political activist and high-maintenance pain in the neck Haskell Wexler.Haskell Wexler, knows that his name is will open doors for his son. The son, Mark Wexler, knows that when you use someone else’s name to open doors, even your father’s, it doesn’t count. He grew up to make this movie about his father as a way of telling us who he is.

For starters, he is not his father, the genius cinematographer who thinks he could have done a better job than any of the directors he ever worked with — including this one. From the very first moment, when Mark asks his father to tell the audience where he is, Haskell tells him he doesn’t need to, and he spends the rest of the movie arguing with his son about how the shots should be set up, what the movie should include, whether he will sign the release and allow the movie to be made at all, and just about everything else, especially politics.

I am very taken with the growing movies-as-therapy genre of “working out my issues with Dad” documentaries. Part history, part biography, part appreciation, and all therapy, it is a funny, wrenching, profound, and deeply moving film, reminiscient of the brilliant My Architect. This time, the subject of the film is very much alive, and his efforts to direct the movie and his son provide some of the film’s most meaningful moments.

Parents should know that this movie has extremely strong language and some sexual images and some references to sexual situations, including adultery. Some viewers may also be disturbed by the tense family scenes and a sad scene of illness.

Families who see this movie should talk about what Mark and his father are proudest of about each other. How did making the film change their relationship? Why did Mark decide to include the scene with his mother?

Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy other worthy films in this category, including My Architect, and Five Wives, Three Secretaries and Me, Tessa Blake’s 1998 documentary about her multi-married Texas millionaire father, whose relationships with his secretaries lasted longer than any of his marriages (and whose wives had even more cordial relationships with each other than their still-friendly relationships with him). Two fine movies with related themes are Tarnation, Jonathan Couette’s movie about his mentally ill mother, and Martha and Ethel, Jyll Johnstone’s film about two nannies who played a larger role in the lives of the film-makers than their parents did.



  • Tom

    Your reviews are incredibly hard to read, you might try putting the fonts in white on the blue back ground. (anything dark on a dark background is going to be hard to read!) I have to highlight them to bring out the dark text on the dark back ground. Other than that, I appreciate your work and find your reviews very helpful.

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you, Tom! The color reversal is a formatting problem that is temporary and should be fixed in the next day or so. If you continue to have problems after the end of this week, please let me know!

Previous Posts

Interview: Dylan Brody on Comedy, Depression, and Robin Williams
Dylan Brody is a comedy writer and stand-up performer was called "brilliant" by Robin Williams.  It was William's tragic suicide that inspired Brody to write a moving essay about his own struggles

posted 8:06:10am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Opera Flash Mob at a London Grocery Store
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/44UC6muN8KY" frameborder="0"] Sacla and staged an impromptu Opera in the food aisles of a London grocery store. They planted five secret opera singers who were disguised as casual shoppers and store staff amongst the groceries who

posted 8:00:13am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Juliette Lewis in "Kelly and Cal"
Juliette Lewis stars as a rocker-turned suburban mother of a newborn in "Kelly and Cal."  Here she tries to make friends with the other mothers, who treat her like mean girls shooing off a freshman who wants to sit at the cool table. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/

posted 6:00:09am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Love is Strange
Love is strange.  As this movie opens, a deeply devoted couple of more than three decades wakes up and prepares for a big, important, emotional, happy occasion.  They bicker a little bit, but it is clear to them and to us that these are reassuringly familiar rhythms for them, almost a contrapuntal

posted 5:59:53pm Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

See Great Directors -- in TV and Music Videos
Top directors do more than movies.  Take a look at these clips from Emmy-nominated television series and these music videos made by some of the most talented directors working in Hollywood, including Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), David Fincher ("Fight Club"), and Paul Tho

posted 3:46:47pm Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.