Friday, September 21, 2012

"Being Flynn" with Robert DeNiro and Paul Dano (2012)

Robert DeNiro stars in this very poignant drama about a homeless man named Jonathan Flynn. He is a great writer. We know this because he says so to anyone with whom he comes into contact. He is only driving a cab to make ends meet while he completes his novel. When his aggressive behavior causes him to be evicted from his apartment, he becomes one of the homeless.

Denied shelter by his friends and acquaintances, he finds himself at the homeless shelter. His son, Nick Flynn, played by Paul Dano, works there, which causes all kinds of problems as the son begins to know the father he never had. Moreover, he does not really like what he sees; in some ways he is an emotional image of his father.

Julianne Moore plays his mother, Jody Flynn, who kills herself after reading an unfinished story by her son in which she was supposed to be the hero.  Mistaking the story to be about her own failure as a mother, she then takes her life.
Nick has saved over 100 of his father’s letters to him over the years. In these letters his father alludes to the “masterpiece” he is working on, but never seems to complete. Nick grows up wanting to be what his father never became; a writer. But he is plagued by the same demons as his Dad, and only a rude awakening will shake him out of his lethargy. When his father calls him, after 18 years, he is awakened.

Struggling with his own problems, and a lack of confidence, Nick navigates his way through the world of the homeless while working at the shelter. When his father is barred from the shelter for bad behavior, Nick is forced to make a choice in reaching out to his father, even while struggling to get his own life on track.
With outstanding performances by all, and a script based on the semi-autobiographical book by Nick Flynn, this film really moves the viewer. Directed by Paul Weitz, who also co-wrote the screenplay, the movie leaves many questions unasked, as well as others unanswered. In the end it is left for you to decide who the real hero in this story is. Are there really any heroes at all? Is Jonathan Flynn a good man, or a flawed man?  Or, is he just like the rest of us; including his son Nick; simply searching for a clue?

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