Fathers and Sons

Director: Paul Mones
Screenwriters: Paul Mones

Institute History

  • 1992 Sundance Film Festival


Every son’s first and foremost male relationship is with his father. It’s a relationship that by virtue of its endurance over time changes, develops and sometimes breaks. Paul Mones directs a subtle and affecting portrait of a father and son who have to deal with the effects of a move to a new community, compounded by the sudden and shattering death of their wife/mother. Amidst the stresses of a brutally transforming world, they must seek renewal and new life.

The young teenager Ed and his father Max don’t seem to operate on the same wave length. Jeff Goldblum gives a complex and emotional performance as a father attempting to communicate with his removed, distant offspring. A former film director, he now operates a bookstore and runs along the boardwalk to work off his inner demons “for recreation.” Meanwhile his son hangs out with his friends and gets into all the troublesome adventures which worry parents sick. Each meets a member of the opposite sex, but the narrative is more about their difficulty in relating to each other than it is about these other involvements. Overshadowing the story are a sinister stranger and an even-stranger, prophetic red book.

Mones’s work as a director is quite straightforward here, but he also includes elements which lend an atmosphere of suspense to the film and cryptically hint at its outcome. Fathers and Sons is alternately quirky and comic, dramatically powerful and elusive. To say it completely defines the nature of family relationships is expecting too much, but the memories it evokes will stay with the viewer for a long time.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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