When Did You Last See Your Father?

Critics Consensus

Sensitive to a fault, Tucker's adaptation of the Morrison novel is nonetheless solidly scripted and well-acted; guard your heartstrings.



Total Count: 101


Audience Score

User Ratings: 41,662
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Movie Info

Adapted from poet Blake Morrison's best-selling memoir by screenwriter David Nicholls and directed for the screen by Anand Tucker, And When Did You Last See Your Father? explores -- like its source material -- the complex, manifold emotional layers of a father-and-son relationship as it shifts and evolves over the passing decades. At the film's center is Blake Morrison himself, who for as long as he can remember has lived in the overarching shadow of his physician father, Arthur (Jim Broadbent) -- falling prey to feelings of embarrassment from the old man, as well as occasional awe. In the 1950s, when Blake (Bradley Johnson) was a child, the boy watched as Arthur partook in socially uncouth behavior such as wheedling his way into clubs to which he didn't belong, and carrying on an extramarital affair with the full knowledge of his wife, Kim (Juliet Stevenson). As the years passed, teenage Blake's (Matthew Beard) discomfort around his father hardened into resentment -- particularly when the adolescent boy expressed interest in a girl, Rachel (Carey Mulligan), who clearly preferred his father; compounding the situation, Blake then had to suffer through Arthur's decision to publicly humiliate his son in front of everyone. The central dynamic has changed for the two, however, by the late '80s, when Blake -- now married to Kathy (Gina McKee) and freshly established as a successful novelist and poet -- learns that Arthur has contracted terminal cancer. Now, the junior Morrison takes a headfirst plunge into the memories and recollections of his youth -- and grapples with the dynamic of his relationship with Arthur for the first time in his life as he comes face to face with the need to provide loving care for the old man.

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Critic Reviews for When Did You Last See Your Father?

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (39)

Audience Reviews for When Did You Last See Your Father?

  • May 05, 2010
    It's hard to come to terms with seeing your parents as they are as human beings instead of parents. Then having to deal with losing one of them forever at the same time. Well acted...
    Leigh R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2010
    Great sentiment and great restraint in examining the generational fractures that prevent parent and child from saying what they mean in the earthly time available, while recognizing that people are often shortchanged on that front. Jim Broadbent shines. Powerful universality.
    hawk l Super Reviewer
  • Aug 16, 2009
    "When Did You Last See Your Father?" is a thoughtful, yet insubstantial, movie about why we should always appreciate our parents and never take them for granted, especially before it is too late. Case in point: Blake Morrison(Colin Firth), a poet, whose father Arthur(Jim Brodbent), a doctor, even embarrasses him as an adult, chatting up Salman Rushdie at an awards banquet(Wait a sec. Wasn't Rushdie in hiding in 1989? And that cell phone is all wrong for the year.) and wondering aloud if his son could not have found a more practical profession. However, naming him Blake pretty much guaranteed this.(Or he could have ended up a film director or a freedom fighter, I suppose.) Things take a serious turn when Arthur is diagnosed with cancer and given little time left, forcing Blake to recall what life was like when he was a teenager(Matthew Beard), blaming his lack of sexual activity on his father, turning the cliched father-son relationship on its head which has a tendency to be generational in popular fiction. In fact, Blake's reseveredness bordered on downright uptightness(and accompanying literary snobbishness) conflicts mightily with Arthur's outgoing demeanor which allowed him to enjoy adventures, so he could have stories to tell at the dinner table. At the end, I am left wondering what kind of father Blake turned out to be.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 09, 2008
    An emotional journey by a man's grown son (Colin Firth), watching as his father (Jim Broadbent) dies. The tale recounts several moments in the difficult relationship through the son's formative years. There was a definite connection with "Big Fish" in that both deal with the father/son relationship at the end of the father's life. The relationship here was complicated by the father's propensity to chat up the ladies and the son's insecurities. The honesty came through quite clearly. Fine acting, including Juliet Stevenson as the longsuffering wife and mother. Some beautiful views of the English countryside. Quite well done and this viewer was able to connect on a deep level to the film as one who lost his father more than a decade ago. It still hurts.
    Mark A Super Reviewer

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