A good ol’ melo­dra­matic thesp-fest

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY TARA BRADY

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.

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