In the Family (2012)
as Joey Williams
as Cody Hines
as Chip Hines
as Paul Hawks
as Marge Hawks
as Sally Hines
as Eileen Robey
as Dave Robey
News & Interviews for In the Family
Critic Reviews for In the Family
To see it is to sit there for long stretches amazed at how clumsy, fake and misguided it is. But then, five minutes later you might easily be riveted and moved by its awkward brilliance.
Trevor St. John is cute and broody-mouthed as the deceased lover; Wang, the movie's writer-director, is touchingly, disarmingly open; and the kid, Sebastian Banes, is adorable.
No doubt you've noticed the nearly three-hour runtime, but please don't let that dissuade you: Every moment counts in this gripping tale ...
As Wang holds us in rapt attention, not only with his steady pacing, but with the hard realism of the screenplay, the characters retain a coldness that never breaks.
Wang chooses gentle storytelling as a tool of persuasion rather than soap-box hectoring to make his point: that love - in all its forms - can transcend the greatest obstacles.
Audience Reviews for In the Family
The potential for over-the-top, weepy melodrama with this kind of material is obvious, but Patrick Wang opts for quiet realism. While the film sidesteps nearly all of the "movie-of the week" cliches, the glacial pace could be difficult for some people to endure (nearly three hours worth of this story probably isn't necessary), fortunately Wang makes the important moments count, so if you are patient "In the Family" is quite rewarding. Another thing that helps distinguish this film is its subtle demonstration of "Bourgeois Homophobia" (The kind of passive aggressive discrimination that's becoming more common in America than the violent hatred of old) and how perhaps the best response to it isn't righteous anger or protest . . . but rather impassioned, mature discussion and forgiveness.
The second three-hour indie I've seen this week from yet another filmmaker with ambition and talent that stretch from here to the moon.
The "here" is the present-day American South. The moon in this case is getting baby boomer morals to wise up to the twentieth century when gay man Cody dies in a car accident, leaving his lover, Joey (Patrick Wang), to fend off Cody's sister and his outdated will in maintaining custody of the child he and Joey have shared together for six years.
There aren't a lot of surprises in "In the Family", so then why are you glued to the screen for all its 169 minutes? That's writer-director Wang, careful to populate "Family" with, well, just that feeling: love and family and friendship and sacrifice. In its shear number of long, beautiful takes you get the sense of an epic zooming closer and pushing tighter into race relations and fatherhood, no matter how unbroken the camera remains. You also get the sense that, like Xavier Dolan's "Laurence Anyways", Wang is being deliberate in his film's own aesthetic craftiness -- he'll do anything to make an impression. And yet "In the Family" manages to stay gorgeously out of its own way. Call it "Kramer vs. Kramer" given the "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" treatment, but when the results are this profound, anxious and intimate I'm fine with being punctiliously seared. Because to quote another near-perfect film from the last two years, you can force your story's shape but the color will always bloom upstream.
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