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Fathers and Daughters

Fathers and Daughters

Released 13 November 2015
Director Garbiele Muccino

Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Russell Crowe, Diane Kruger, Ryan Eggold, Jane Fonda, Michelle Veintimilla, Quvenzhané Wallis, Octavia Spencer
Writer(s) Brad Desch

Nicolas Chartier, Sherryl Clark, Craig J. Flores
Origin United States, Italy
Running Time 116 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating 15A

Break up the family.

Fathers and Daughters reminds me of that old thought experiment about the tree falling in the woods; certainly nobody will be around to witness this wannabe weepie, so it may as well not exist. Indeed for its starry cast, that may be for the best – this corny rubbish isn't exactly going to light up anybody's IMDB profile.

A horribly miscast Russell Crowe plays a recently widowed Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who is left in charge of his young daughter Katie. As his mental health and career deteriorate, it becomes more and more difficult to care for Katie and their relationship suffers under the strain. Years later, we meet Katie again (now played by Amanda Seyfried) as she studies for a psychology degree and attempts to deal with her troubled past.

Despite the talented cast, which also features Diane Kruger and Aaron Paul, the ineptitude of the characterisation is pretty startling. Crowe mainly relies on his scruffy leather jacket to do all the heavy lifting for him as he shuffles around between horribly overblown seizures. Meanwhile, Seyfried demonstrates Katie's psychological problems through blank looks and protestations of how she doesn't have the ability to feel - before promptly forming a deep connection with an orphaned child and falling in love with Aaron Paul.

Director Gabriele Muccino has form in this kind of cod-sentimental claptrap (The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds) but still has no idea how to craft effective melodrama. More can indeed be more in melodrama but Muccino's tactic of laying it on with a trowel and allowing his actors to do the same, isn't working. A tedious, at times unpleasantly saccharine waste of time for all involved.

- Linda O'Brien