Ho hum.

I had assumed I was going to see a film about dealing with grief, with some hard edges and maybe (given recent Gyllenhaal turns in Enemy and Nightcrawler) something even darker.

But the script didn’t go in this direction at all. In fact, it didn’t really go in any direction. Once I’d realised this wasn’t going to be a hard look at grief, I started to wonder if it was supposed to be a comedy. Or a Nicholas Sparks romance. Or actually about the kid who comes into Davis’ (Jake’s) life. It was all, and none, of the above, and wandered around with little purpose for its run time. The main difficulty I had was accepting the contrivance of Naomi Watts’ character. If there is such a thing as a middle-aged manic pixie dream girl, then here she is. With no believable reason for appearing in Jake’s life in the first place, she then disappears for chunks of time once her work is done, yet her son sticks around. And as for the metaphor – well I think the audience gets that Davis is trying to understand his version of grief and his relationship with his deceased wife. It didn’t need pointing out in quite so heavy-handed a manner.

What did I like? Well, Judah Lewis as Naomi Watts’ son certainly turned in a good performance, and Jake, yet again, managed to wrangle some kind of vulnerability and inner conflict from the material with which he was presented. But the script did nobody any favours unfortunately.

Still, it looks like they all had great fun with the sledgehammers.

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