And When Did You Last See Your Father?
Just as he did in life – and then again later in his son’s writing – the father of poet/author Blake Morrison hogs the limelight in this adaptation of Morrison’s bestselling memoir about his relationship with his dad who died of cancer. Arthur Morrison was, by his son’s account, an extrovert who dominated (however benignly) family life in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1950s, in contrast to his teenage son Blake, an awkward introvert who endured an antagonistic relationship with his GP father.
Appropriately, the film, adapted by David Nicholls (Cold Feet, Starter for Ten) and directed by Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie), is dominated by Jim Broadbent’s towering and finally heartbreaking performance as Arthur Morrison, though praise must also go to Colin Firth for his admirably restrained turn as the son.
And the boys are supported by a terrific female supporting cast, including Juliet Stevenson as Blake’s suffering-in-silence mum and Sarah Lancashire as family friend Beaty, whose youthful flirtations with Arthur sting Blake with a revelation later in life. Intercutting Blake’s bittersweet childhood remembrances – such as a waterlogged camping trip in the Lake District with dad that the boy steadfastly refused to accept as a father/son bonding experience – with his bereavement experienced as a 40-year-old successful writer, this well-acted film is alternately funny, harrowing and very moving.
General release from Fri 5 Oct.