IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF OUR FATHER!
Beta and Zelda are two estranged sisters that go on a trip to search for an uncle they never met in their lives to try to solve their father’s suicide and to find out why their family is so divided an unhappy. Written and directed by Bradley Grant Smith, Our Father is competing in the Narrative Feature of the SXSW Film Festival. It’s a film that tries to appeal by this search of belonging by its leading lady Beta, that always seems to run away from her past; living in her car and with an unstable lifestyle, she reaches her sister Zelda, which is clearly living in even worse conditions than her sister, not having money to pay the rent of her room and sneaking out through the window not to get caught by her landlord. The chemistry between actresses Baize Buzan and Allison Torem is adorable and it turns into the driving force of Our Father, but the lack of cohesion and a scattered screenplay make this road trip comedy somewhat disappointing.
Although Bradley Grant Smith knows what to provide to its leads in order for the audience to relate to their vulnerabilities and eagerness to overcome their actual lifestyle, he never actually bets on the supporting characters to have a more significant role in the film. Baize Buzan is definitely the biggest asset of the film, and it relies entirely on her shoulders, but that is not enough for people to empathize with the characters because we don’t actually feel very close to them. The script acts like a random thought that makes sense for some, but ultimately lacks the grip it needs to catch our attention. This particular problem doesn’t allow the film to flourish and make the leading characters even more appealing, never balancing well enough the comedy with the dramatic intensity it clearly needs in some moments. However, the two lead actresses make their efforts to work with what they’re given, and it pays off as we begin to understand more about how they think and what their ambitions are.
Smith is also the composer of the film and, in fact, his way with the music is what garnishes the narrative to become a little bit more appealing, but, again, it’s not enough to make it rise to something more substancial. The intentions are there, but the script doesn’t quite know where to settle and that makes the audience to disperse in trying to understand the films motivations. There are some interesting elements though, and when Austin Pendleton‘s character shows up the film delivers its best moment and some jokes do actually make us laugh. Unfortunately, Our Father can’t make its good intentions noticed in the messy aspects of its struggle to make a point.
Even if the performances help it out in some occasions, Our Father has its funny moments and treats vulnerabilities in a pleasant way, but ultimately fails to deliver a story that feels inspiring to audiences around the world. It’s an interesting debut for a rookie director, but it will leave room for improvement for the next films Bradley Grant Smith will take helm of. Until then, Our Father remains a kind, but forgettable tale of the search for closure in the messiness of life.
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Title: Our Father
Original Title: Our Father
Director: Bradley Grant Smith
Runtime: 92 min.
Trailer | Our Father