Arriving in theaters and on-demand this weekend is film festival favorite Come To Daddy.
The film stars Elijah Wood, who grounds this genre bender with an adept performance, which is far and away from his Frodo Baggins days, and directed by Ant Simpson (Turbo Kid).
For its novelty, Come to Daddy is fun and perverse. Do those two words go together? They do for those who love their films in the weird category.
A dad writes a letter beseeching his long separated son to join him at his cabin to make amends. It’s been 30 years and the reunion is going to be a doozy for son Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood).
What Sets It Apart
The Come to Daddy script was penned by Toby Harvard, who also wrote The Greasy Strangler (produced by Ant Simpson and Elijah Wood), which has entertained countless times as the go-to film when you want to see something that is all things funny, strange, bizarre, and gross (now on Amazon Prime). Many jokes, drinking games, and recollections can be tied to The Greasy Strangler so when Come To Daddy was announced I was excited to see if it would capture that same wonky humor that made The Greasy Strangler a cult favorite.
Both films feature a strange father son relationship that is explored with unusual circumstances. In Come to Daddy, uber screen veteran Stephen McHattie lends all his skills to portraying a messed up Gordon, who gets to be funny, morbid, and just a straight-up asshole as Norval’s father. Though Wood takes center stage in the film, McHattie’s ability as a drunk came across as very real, especially when he starts insulting his son. Harvard’s writing with McHattie’s performance felt genuine and three dimensional. There was a character history there that was not discussed, but felt in the performance.
Unlike The Greasy Strangler, this father and son don’t seem to mesh on the surface, but bits and pieces emerge like Norval’s intolerance for alcohol and Gordon’s thirst for it. As they work on finding common ground to rebuild the father son relationship there seems to be less and less that they agree on nor have in common except maybe a need to compete or one up each other.
By the third act, a key character is added (avoiding spoilers), Brian (Martin Donovan – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), who will have you cringing with his physical acting early on as he challenges Norval. His final scene with Wood was spectacular.
In addition, Elijah Wood’s drunken performance when he’s left to his own devices and all alone was particularly good especially when he calls for a date, and then lays on the bed. (vague to be spoiler free). Wood seems to make interesting choices in his acting career and they always turn out to be good.
Wearing rose colored horror genre glasses, Come To Daddy has a certain amount of charm. It’s a story that goes in one direction and by the third act goes in a totally different one ala Pulp Fiction. It’s totally entertaining, but also strange in a good way. The film features really solid performances from the entire cast, but I had a hard time connecting with the story from start to finish despite it being different and interesting from mainstream cinema, which I generally go for.
For that reason, Come to Daddy doesn’t have mainstream appeal but certainly will connect with it’s specific audience, -those who love macabre. For those who enjoy a more genre theater going experience seek this one out.
- Well Acted
- Novel Story
- Won't appeal to everyone