TThe pandemic has subjected us to a brave new world of cinematic experiences: a horror shoot on Zoom, Anne Hathaway trying to rob Harrods, Naomi Watts receiving phone calls in a forest, films that have displayed admirable wit during an impossible period. Or that it’s really okay, rather, sometimes you just put down the tools and bake banana bread instead.
Most of them have been quite miserable (the laptop horror host is a remarkably ingenious exception) but often fascinatingly, chaotic curiosities that live and die in this unusual period of time, never to be seen or seen again. thought. However, none of them have quite equaled the true rarity of My Son, a movie you probably haven’t heard of because it * whispers * they don’t want you to know. exists. But exactly why would a thriller starring James McAvoy and Claire Foy be treated as toxic waste?
To understand its strange journey to the bottom of the broadcast drain, one must go back to 2017 when the French thriller Mon Garçon introduced a unique concept in a generic sub-genre. In the film, Guillaume Canet was given just a six-page character outline and was told to improvise his way through the family history of a man searching for his son. Other actors had a more comprehensive script, but the film’s success fell largely on Canet’s experienced shoulders. It was taken, but what if the script had also disappeared? The film was a modest success in France and received mixed to positive reviews when it was released in the US, a gamble that paid off enough that the director, Christian Carion, wanted to do it all over again.
In October 2020, when film production was possible but precarious, it was Announced that Carion would partner with STX for an English remake, filmed in Scotland with McAvoy taking on the role of Canet and Foy as his ex-wife (a character played by Mélanie Laurent in the original). The trick would stick and McAvoy would have to make his way free from lost to found, a situation that would create “real tension” according to those involved. Cut to almost a year later and the movie is now being sent to Peacock, NBC’s streaming service in the US, for a period of three months before being downloaded to the Roku channel, as a three-course meal that it is deliberately dropped into the canal. land and went to the raccoons.
Reporters were offered filters before they were quickly turned away, so I bravely connected to Peacock and pulled him out of the trash myself, curious to continue and investigate the rotten stench. The recently released trailer hints at the tactic with text referring to it as “a groundbreaking cinematic achievement” (which has been done before) and McAvoy calling it “an experience no actor can have” (other than Canet) . But one of the weirdest things about a project filled with a lot of weird things is that the audience doesn’t realize this at the beginning of the movie, and therefore, for most people who come across it, the element “innovative” will be a secret. For those in the know, it’s at least a valid explanation for why the movie is so bad, its on-the-fly dialogue and paper-thin plot justified by the improv class nature of it all.
For McAvoy to solve the mystery, it’s one that needs to be kept as basic as possible, which makes sense to him, the actor, but to us, the viewer, it makes an already red premise feel even more uselessly mechanical. The nature of the film makes it an incredibly sad video game, McAvoy plays a character we would normally be in charge of, going from place to place with actors revealing clues that propel him to the next scene. He’s an accomplished performer, so even in the movie’s baddest moments he’s never exactly bad, but taking on the role of screenwriter is an understandable stretch, every line being boring and superficial or ridiculously messy (“Either he knows something or he’s criminally an idiot “was worth a screenshot). My Son’s bullish arrogance, which suggests that a suspenseful feature film can be essentially scrambled out of nowhere by an actor rather than one of those useless writers, unsurprisingly crumbles as we go through the very boring moves of a very boring movie. . There is not a single reveal, scene or line of dialogue that rises above the sub-par level and there is not an amount of dramatic suspense music or Scottish scenery that can distract from the rottenness of a project that was cursed from the beginning.
One can understand why McAvoy was drawn to her, the opportunity to challenge himself as an actor at a time when work was also in short supply (he also starred opposite Sharon Horgan in Stephen Daldry’s quarantine comedy Together). But the entire movie puts the viewer’s experience at the bottom of the list, as if our enjoyment is of little or no interest and instead we should be honored to participate in an indulgent, deep, and punishing acting class.
There’s not even an appeal to the movie about how bad a train wreck really can be – it’s too boring for that, which is why its descent from the big screen into the streaming underworld feels like justified mercy killing. They did not want you to know about My Son for a reason. I apologize for telling you.