Falling is available now on Curzon Home Cinema
With his long over-due directorial debut, Viggo Mortenson brings us a complex and emotional story of care amid pain and regret. His powerful screenplay delicately unpicking the realities of dementia as it tears through family life. In a family where the disease only further enhances the fractured relationships between a son, daughter, and father. While at the same time, the anger, toxicity and unspoken regrets of the past are brought to the surface by the relentless erasure of memory.
Willis (Lance Henrikson) has spent his life in upstate New York on a farm. His first marriage failed, followed by a second marriage that also fell foul of his temper and suspicion. With his children caught in the middle of his self-created turmoil, as they grew into adults. But despite this both John (Viggo Mortenson) and his sister Sarah, have stayed by his side. However, as Willis succumbs to dementia, and his health fades, its John who picks up the burden of his care. His life as a gay man in a loving marriage, with a young daughter, suffering from his father’s relentless homophobia. While at the same time, he tries to encourage his dad to move from the family farm to a small California property. However, how do you care for a man unwilling to accept support?
At times feeling almost autobiographical in construct, Falling is strongest when exploring the challenges of care in families torn apart by a history of intolerance. Its exploration of turbulent father/son dynamics, both assured and real. While at the same time, performances are embedded in unspoken regrets, hidden love and pain. However, its Henrikson who steals each scene, his character both contemptuous, arrogant yet scared of the man he has become. Meanwhile, Mortenson’s ‘John’ pushes his own anger and pain to one side, in a desperate attempt to show love and compassion. In a film that never attempts to paint its characters with a simple broad brush. Instead, opting to focus on the small, intricate events that build a life. While never failing to reflect the pain and trauma of dementia as those events are stripped away one by one.
Director: Viggo Mortensen
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