Year of Release: 2009
The movie opens with the scene showing Robert De’Niro (Frank), who plays a retired widower, shopping and preparing for his kids’ visit. The opening scene itself sets the tone of the movie. You can sense the retired man’s loneliness and see him dragging on with the daily chores around the empty house and his excitement over his kids’ visit after his wife’s death.
But all of kids cancel their visit citing different reasons. So he decides to surprise each of his kids by visiting them, despite his doctor telling him not to travel so much due to his lung condition.
Frank’s visit to the 1st (and his favorite) child David in New York ends up in disappointment. When he fails to turn up for 2 days, the father quietly slips in the letter he prepared for each child beneath the door.
Frank’s 2nd visit takes him to Chicago to meet his ad agency honcho daughter, only to discover that she had lied about the reason for not making it home for the get together. He senses something is off when she makes excuses about not letting him stay for another day or two, but decides not to pursue it.
The 3rd visit is to the son who had lied about him being a conductor while just being a percussionist in the orchestra. He is saddened by the fact that his son does not have ambitions to grow beyond playing the percussion.
Lastly he goes to meet his daughter in Las Vegas who claims to be an extremely successful ballerina but really isn’t.
All his kids had lied to him about something or the other as he had always pushed them to be perfect and they didn’t want to disappoint him by telling the truth about their actual professions. Due to this reason, the kids always talked to their mother and when she died, Frank felt really disconnected with his kids and undertakes the trip to reconnect with them and their lives.
Since Frank used to work in a telephone wire factory, the telephone conversations in the background as he travels from one destination to another, is a nice little touch. It also shows how much Frank’s work meant to him and how hollow he feels after retiring.
Towards the end of the movie all the lies and secrets are unraveled.
Everybody’s heart will definitely go out to Frank. Robert De’Niro has superbly portrayed the character of a retired widower and has wonderfully shown what the lonely existence, pain and a life that suddenly has stopped having any meaning, feels like.
It gives us an underlying message that being happy really, is all there is and should be to life. As long as everybody’s happy in their chosen paths, everybody’s truly fine.
A simplistically emotional movie!
- IMDB Rating – 7.2/10
- During the film, the character of Frank, who made his livelihood in telephone wire, uses land-line telephones (payphones, etc). The children all use mobile (wireless) telephones.
- Bradley Cooper put himself on tape to audition for a role as Robert De Niro‘s son (with his own mother playing the part of De Niro). He lost out to Sam Rockwell.
- The movie was nominated for the Golden Globe.
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