The Son Review


Depression is a normal human emotion. Some people struggle with depression and others are better able to handle it. Director Florian Zeller puts us in a world of depression in The Son which is an honest and faithful film that is about a teenage boy’s emotional distress. The filmis realistic in its portrayal of life as it authentically illustrates how feeling down can be a challenge to accept. The melancholy is highly saturated throughout the story.

I had difficulty with The Son at various times. The concepts of sadness and anxiety were the two factors that made me feel especially emotional. The Son reminded me of what it can feel like to be down about aspects of life. Given all the downer moments in the film, I wasalso reminded of how important getting help is.  It is clear, however, that the ones we love most may have to make tough decisions sometimes and those who are suffering may take offense to those decisions. By making these difficult decisions, the hope is to help the people we love ultimately live a better life.

In The Son, audiences are introduced to Nicholas (played by Zen McGrath). He is a teenage boy with divorced parents in New York City. He ditches school and begins to show signs that concern his mother Kate (played by Laura Dern). Nicholas then begs to stay with his father Peter (played by Hugh Jackman). Peter is remarried, and his new wife is Beth (played by Vanessa Kirby). Nicholas changes schools, and his dad tries to help him out. Nicholas acts like he is improving, but he is not well and hides his emotions. Peter and Kate do not know how to help their son. Even Peter’s father (played by Anthony Hopkins) does not know how to give Peter advice. Unfortunately, Peter’s father is self-absorbed and fails to admit to his own mistakes during Peter’s childhood. With all the tensions, frustrations, and worrisome factors, The Son is psychologically disturbing. The level of Nicholas’ sadness causes confusion and many questions for Kate, Peter, and Beth.

The Son paints a vivid portrait of mental health challenges and displays Zeller’s vision of realism as a director. Zeller knows how to grease the wheel of stress and apprehension in The Son. In a few fragments, Nicholas is shown in an average mood. There are moments where it seems he has more confidence in himself, and his father becomes immediately impressed. The essential ingredients to Nicholas’ mental health tend to come to a halt due to shocking discoveries by his parents. These scenes are portrayed with honesty and are familiar to those familiar with depression.  People who fight depression tend to keep covering their tracks and hiding their real problems. Can Nicholas stop lying to himself?

The Son left me with mixed emotions. I liked it for its realism, but its focus on mental health was hard for me to handle. Nicholas’ parents simply want their son to be happy. Despite how concerning Nicholas’s feelings may appear, tough love may have to come into play to help him recover.

The film left me quite down, but it reinforced the importance of my life. It reminded me of who has helped me to get my life back on track when I’ve faced troubles.  It also reminded me of the fundamentals of family. In the end, it is all about what people can do to help those they care about pick themselves up. Three stars for The Son.

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