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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » My Father and I
My Father and I
New Yorker Video // Unrated // August 17, 2004
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matt Langdon | posted October 31, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Movie:
My Father and I is a French psychological drama about a 40-something doctor who is wealthy, has a beautiful wife and lives a seemingly perfect life until his long absent father arrives for a visit.

The film - directed by Anne Fontaine - is promoted as a psychological thriller but really it is more a character study of an estranged relationship between a father and a son. The father (Michel Bouquet) now an elderly man left his two sons many years before to practice medicine in Africa. The sons went their own ways. One Jean-Luc (Charles Berling) went on to be a successful doctor and the other Patrick (Stephane Guillon) a stand-up comedian. But each psychologically scarred in their own way by having to grow up without a father.

There is something a bit mysterious about the film and it partly could be that in the film's first scene Jean Luc receives a letter saying that his father has died. But then that evening at a party he sees his father standing in their courtyard. What's going on?

The arrival of the father seems pleasant enough and Jean Luc's wife Isa (Natacha Regnier) takes to his warm personality but ultimately having the father around reveals some unpleasant truths that Jean Luc must contend with.

Interestingly, the original English title of the movie is 'How I Killed my Father', which gives the film an entirely different meaning. And the original French working title was 'Tout le monde y pense', which roughly translates as 'Everyone thinks of it." 'It' being perhaps the Oedipus story of a son killing one's father? Perhaps, but the title definitely gives the film a different context.

The style of My Father and I is very detached and cool, which fits the film's content as well as the character's emotions but it also manages to leave the viewer a bit cold. The percision of the direction is impressive but there is not much emotional connection in the film despite good performances.

Video:
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 the image looks excellent. Colors look good and the image looks sharp and glossy. The DVD is compatable for 16:9 televisions.

Audio:
Audio is in French stereo.

Extras:
The extras are three interviews with the main actors. Charles Berling interview is 26 minutes, Stephane Guillon is 14 minutes and Natacha Regnier is 13 minutes. The interviews are good if not a bit long. Each of the actors talks about their character development and what it is like to work with the director. It would have been nice to have an interview with the director to answer a few questions about some of the enigmatic things in the film. There are also two trailers.

Overall:
My Father and I is a coolly detached psychological drama about what happens when an elderly father comes to pay a visit to his son. The film is more style than substance but it looks great. The DVD has modest extras.

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