Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Loving Father

(Aime ton pere, France, 2002)

Gerard Depardieu has just won the Nobel Prize for literature. (I know, it’s hard to swallow, but what the hell). On his way to Stockholm on a motorcycle he gets into an accident, is kidnapped by his son, played by Depardieu’s real son. The son is an ex-junkie, and blames Dad, as all junkies blame somebody else. Dad was a real prick, no doubt, and still is, if you believe that fatherhood is the best and most important thing a man can do, which I don’t. (A good thing, since I was a rotten father.) Dad complains that his family smothers him. Okay, he’s a self-centered monster, and I’m sure it’s tough to be the child of a really great artist or statesman or whatever … but get over it! The son’s entire life revolves around licking the wounds inflicted on him as a child, and although his childhood wasn’t very nice, plenty of others have had much worse. I wasn’t very taken with this dysfunctional family, and the movie ends in some incomprehensible mess of symbolism.