A good ol’ melodramatic thesp-fest
er-in-law, he relieves tensions with the transgender hookers. That habit will eventually lead to a comic conflagration plucked straight from a French farce.
Tangerine acknowledges that these are hard lives to lead, but the film ultimately stands as a celebration of the characters’ mad resolve. Taylor and Rodriguez (limited actors, kept within safe zones) are allowed to be funny, but we are never encouraged to laugh at them or at their situation. Indeed, set on December 24th, Tangerine ends up drenching itself in an original distillation of full-strength Christmas spirit. Deck the halls. slideshow of their holiday snaps.
An end-credits dedication to Ray Harryhausen, Dick Smith and Stan Winston reminds us that director Corin Hardy – who is currently attached to the reboot of The Crow – hails from a noble lineage of SFX. But the same film-maker ought to take a breath now and again. Every scene here feels in media res and slightly overcooked. FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS Directed by Gabriele Muccino. Starring Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Diane Kruger, Quvenzhané Wallis, Bruce Greenwood, Janet McTeer, Kylie Rogers, Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer. Cert 15A, select release, 116mins A Pulitzer-winning author struggles to raise his young cutsey-pie daughter alone. It’s complicated: the author, named Jake Davis, is embodied by a fiercely intense Russell Crowe. Jake’s wife died in a car-crash with Jake at the wheel; they were having a squabble about his previous infidelities at the time, with their daughter Katie, watching from the backseat. Jake’s millionaire in-laws hold him accountable and would like to adopt their niece. Jake resists but the accident that killed his spouse has left him suffering from debilitating seizures.
The ensuring (and pretty implausible) custody battle – dating back to 1989 – crosscuts with a contemporary narrative. Katie has grown up to be
Convincing seizure acting: Russell Crowe
Amanda Seyfried, a promiscuous psychology graduate. Can case work involving a damaged young girl (Quvenzhané Wallis) and the love of a decent chap (Aaron Paul) heal Katie’s emotional scars?
Nobody does maudlin drama quite like the Italian director Gabriele Muccino, whose best known works – the Will Smith vehicles The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds – are punctuated with actors staring into mirrors or looking gloomily off into the distance. In this spirit, Russell Crowe gets to do plenty of convincing seizure acting, Seyfried gets to tear up a lot, and an entire constellation of stars – Fonda, Greenwood, Kruger – turn on all of the feels all the time.
The film is based on the 2012 Black List script (the list purporting to contain Hollywood’s Best Unproduced Screenplays) by Brad Desch. The Black List has yielded plenty of hits – Whiplash, The King’s Speech, Argo – and plenty of misses like Sex Tape.
Fathers and Daughters feels like a mid-table entry: it’s this year’s The Beaver. There’s something too old-fashioned and wilfully anachronistic about the entire enterprise. The film’s clutter of characters translates into a lot of shorthand and stereotypes: Diane Kruger is a mean drunk as the constant clink of ice-cubes in her glass indicate, and so on.
No matter, as big, gloopy melodramas go, this is a perfectly good time-passer with lashings of actors and acting.