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What I liked most about the film was that the theme in less worthy hands could have been made sloppily sentimental, but here it is totally restrained both in script and direction and it makes for a really meaningful movie. The characters remain real all the way through and the script does not transform them into wondrous saints by movie's end.
It is the wonderful understatement in it all that captivated me and made me weep at the end. Jack is truly unforgettable and Olympia magnificent in her dryness and cynicism. I have seen it 3 times and each time relished another scene a little more. This time around it was Jack dragging his wife around to meet the neighbours he was not even aware of before and her long suffering face at this new and reinvented Jack makes you laugh out loud. Bravo to all. An 8 1/2 out of 10. And that scene where they dance, oh me oh my......who needs naked bodies writhing on a bed, this has sensuousness, love and intimacy in it, the real kind. Oh for more of those scenes in movies!
I thought Dad would be a boring, heartwarming drama, but I pleasantly discovered that it had its share of laughs. This movie is excellently cast and well written. It jars the senses long after you've seen it because it forces you to face things you'd rather not deal with, ever, but will inevitably have to: losing someone you love.
The film opens with a young Jack Lemmon at sunrise, starting work at his ranch with his beautiful, supportive wife and kids. Then, a sequence to establish his present character: an old frail man being taken care of by his overbearing wife (convincingly played by Olympia Dukakis), from dressing him up, putting toothpaste on his toothbrush, to buttering his toast. He accompanies his wife, who drives them both to the grocery, where she gets a heart attack. He helplessly looks on.
While she is temporarily hospitalized, the children worry about their father. The son (Ted Danson) is a successful corporate type, who quickly flies in to see to it that everything's okay. He is met by his brother-in-law (Kevin Spacey), and his sister (Kathy Baker).
The absentee son is shocked to see how much his father has deteriorated, and so spends more time with him out of guilt. He doesn't intend to stay long as he has business to attend to, and so he makes sure that his father can be independent and take care of himself.
Pretty soon, Dukakis is back and is surprised to see her husband up and about. All is well till it's his turn to suddenly get hospitalized. The doctor suspects cancer. Soon, he's in a coma, and the son does everything he can to care for his father. Somewhere in the middle of this, his own son (Ethan Hawke), comes in. He is estranged from his father but is apparently very close to his grandfather.
After what seems like ages, and now in the hands of a more compassionate, competent doctor, the old man wakes up. He celebrates his new lease on life by being more carefree, lively and spontaneous. He has been diagnosed to be a bit schizophrenic, with the film's opening sequence revealing the dream life he's been living in his head to cope with his problems. His family is astonished, but humors him, except for his wife, who openly shows her displeasure at his apparent craziness.
But later on, it is his new zest for life that infects everyone and brings the family together. It helps the old couple open their world to new things and new people at that stage in their life. In the end, cancer does overcome his body, but not his spirit and of those around him.
I like how the movie finishes on a positive yet realistic note, without milking the situation with an embarrassing display of melodrama.
It's a scary thing to watch someone you've always known as strong slowly wither before you. It must have been excruciating for the son to watch his own father not be able to do the things that he used to do, not even dress himself up. This was also painfully illustrated in one scene where the son, angry at the poor treatment his father endured from the first doctor, carries his dad out of the hospital. The father's body appeared so weak and frail in his son's arms. This role reversal a la Pieta comes as quite a shocker, as it disturbs the equilibrium an awful lot.
As the eldest child, I've had the good fortune to enjoy my parents at their prime. I grew up content in the belief that I always had my strong, funny, patient father and my always organized and in-control mother to take care of anything, big or small. And then I aged in years, but still terribly spoiled and immature, while my folks seem to have silently been plateauing.
While my folks have not been as terribly sick as in the movie, the threat of it happening is always there. Dad has been a wake-up call for me to reevaluate what matters most in life and to reallocate my time to doing the things that are truly of value.
Everyone can relate to this film because everyone has parents, or someone they depend on or are close to. There is no big villain to hate or escape from in this film; no unrealistic and complicated plot twists, telenovela-style. Nothing, that is, except the bigger danger of apathy, the silent killer in each of our relationships. Therein lies the true conflict, and the earlier we choose to recognize it and act on it, the better our relationships can be.
Now who would've known such knowledge could stem from a desire to see Ethan Hawke?
The Film : I think it's very crude and real. there are many old ones in abandonment situation and this film illustrates the necessary love for the greater ones of the family. Although TV is treated in format, the argument either is developed and distributed in the time with a crescendo of emotions very well displayed.
Jack Lemmon makes a magnificent work in Jake Tremont roll with such so pathetic depth that it seems real
Ted Danson is discovered like a good actor, not only for series of television, but also for cinema too. He plays more than credible son dedicated to his father treating to compensate the lack of affection felt in both directions in the past times
I particularly liked the ending where Ted Denson and his son make up and try and avoid the distance in relationship that Denson kind of had with his father played by Jack Lemmon. The cast all gives an amazing performance and I'm surprised this movie didn't make bigger waves when it initially came out its fantastic.
Having said that, I think that this movie has touched a very deep part of our lives. All of us have to face the fact that our parents are growing old, and one day they will leave us forever. It is quite emotional. How many of the people living in the USA now have the courage, time and money to actually live with their older parents till the day they apart.
This movie brought three generations all together, and showed us a well-done drama. It does not have a happy ending. However, it gives us a very realistic feeling that we all have or had to face.
So watch this movie when it is raining outside. I am sure that you can have a good cry.
Ted Danson plays a man called John Tremont who rearranges his life when his mother, Bette, (his father, Jake, has allowed her to do virtually everything for him. He has therefore had his self-esteem whittled away over the last fifty years or more that they have been married including not having a lot of fun and driving him everywhere)has a heart-attack in a supermarket. Suddenly the high-powered business man has to find his relationship with his father again and he does this by giving back to him what is missing from his life. The bond they end up with is extremely strong. So much so that he stays with his father the whole time when he, after his mother gets well and comes out of hospital, ends up in hospital himself.
The supporting cast are just as good. You know instantly that daughter Annie is the one that normally looks after her elderly parents while John does the high-flying businessman bit only to then take more of a back-seat role when John rearranges his life. Mario, the third sibling, cannot be there to help as much as he would like due to living so far away does return to the family when there is need for him to do so. And then there is Billy who is obviously more attached to his Grandfather than his father This is a film that HAS to be seen.
My opine - a must see --- for life...
It is heart wrenching to face any diagnosis;Danson's character screams, when a doctor goes against his wishes of silence about the father's condition. It would show a poor lack of ethics in the medical community.I gather from the film, the importance of strengthening family ties and relationships. Life is unpredictable, but the certainty is true Love and compassion for others.
I will ALWAYS promote this movie!
Lemmon gave another strong performance in his versatile career. The problem here is that the performance became lopsided somewhat when the focus of the picture changes to the idea that Lemmon, who comes out of a coma, has been hallucinating for all these years thinking that he has had an alternate life in New Jersey.
Olympia Dukakis stars as his elderly wife who just can't take his discussion of this life and in one scene, the emotional outburst between her and loving son, a very good Ted Danson, is truly memorable. Kathy Baker is wasted as Danson's divorced wife. The way the two acted towards each other, you are left wondering why they divorced to begin with.
Ethan Hawke is quite impressive as Danson's young son.
The film regains its quality when the cancer returns but seems to jump rapidly to Lemmon's demise and Danson taking leave of the family. Why was all this rushed up?
Dad is a wonderful study of the issues in being a senior citizen and now that I am one can appreciate more now than in 1989 when it first came out. From the first you see that it's Dukakis wearing the pants in the family as they go grocery shopping. But when Olympia has a heart attack in the supermarket, Lemmon is kind of left to his own devices.
The children, Kathy Baker and Kevin Spacey, help to some degree. But it's there third brother who works for an investment firm who really pitches in. Ted Danson is a kind of Gordon Gekko of the West Coast, but as he pitches in and helps the two really connect and reestablish a relationship. I did love the scene where Lemmon just sits in on a board meeting comprehending more than Danson realizes about what he does for a living.
Ever since Lemmon retired from Lockheed years it's Dukakis who has become the dominant one. No longer earning and kind of under foot he becomes just an appendage. She treats him like a child.
Soon enough the roles are reversed. She comes home and he's diagnosed with cancer. The family then goes into crisis mode.
Dad has a nice constructed story with very well developed characters with the exception of Kevin Spacey who is given little to do with his role. Ethan Hawke is also in the film as Danson's son who has always had a great relationship with his grandfather.
Jack Lemmon was 66 when he made the film. But with makeup he looks more 86 and really makes you believe it in his performance. A whole lot like his buddy Walter Matthau when he starred in Kotch.
Dad is a wonderful film for the family about a family named Tremont.