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Review: Being Flynn

Feb. 27, 2012by: JimmyO

PLOT: Nick Flynn wants to be a writer yet he can’t seem to get a firm grip on his life. Things get worse for the young man when he is reacquainted with the father who abandoned him years ago. It is especially tough since it is at the homeless shelter Nick works in where his long lost dad arrives looking for a place to sleep. The reunion sets his personal life back a few steps. He soon finds comfort in recklessness, drugs and alcohol. Will he follow in his father’s footsteps or will he learn to make his own path? And will father and son ever find a common bond and finally make up for some lost time?

REVIEW: BEING FLYNN is a fantastic film simple as that. Based on the captivating memoirs of author Nick Flynn, “Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City,” there is much to love in the film adaptation. This is a near perfect portrait of a father and the son he abandoned. Yet it is also a challenging take on humanity and how far we can get lost in this big, ugly world. As heartbreaking and challenging as BEING FLYNN is – the book’s title would have been more appropriate for the film – there is also a light that finds hope for the hopeless. For some, falling into a downward spiral may be their only chance for true salvation.

Paul Dano is Nick Flynn. He is a young man who is not wholly trustworthy and has an unclear view of his future. He is a writer who can’t seem to focus on his words as he is seemingly distracted by day to day living. When his long lost father Jonathan (Robert De Niro) shows up at his new apartment, he has a brief glimpse of the man who abandoned him. While it most assuredly holds an impact, it is not the last time he would come across dear old dad. At the suggestion of a new girl named Denise (Olivia Thrilby) that he is currently seeing, Nick begins working at a homeless shelter. Soon after starting his job, his dad shows up looking for a place to stay.

Written and directed by Paul Weitz, the filmmaker expands on the heartfelt emotion that he conjured in his 2002 feature ABOUT A BOY. Yet in FLYNN, he has the challenging task of getting you to feel something for these flawed characters. Both Nick and Jonathan have moments that will test the audiences’ empathy, especially with the father. The man is racist, homophobic, and he seems to resent almost every little thing in the world that surrounds him. Yet thanks to Weitz beautiful script, he gives Mr. De Niro a chance to not simply play the stereotype of a wounded poet. It certainly helps that Jonathan Flynn seems to have a few of the same quirks that Travis Bickle had in TAXI DRIVER back in 1976, both are fascinating characters although Jonathan is a tad less volatile than his predecessor.

Thankfully Dano and De Niro are phenomenal together. This is certainly a career best for each of these fine actors, which is especially impressive considering De Niro’s resume. If you couldn’t believe that these two have that father and son bond – no matter how dysfunctional it may be – BEING FLYNN wouldn’t work. They both make it very believable. Add to that the talented Julianne Moore who plays wife and mother to Jonathan and Nick in flashbacks. Her story will be very relatable to a number of people struggling to make ends meet. She is absolutely wonderful as the loving mother who does all she can for her son. This is a powerful family dynamic that at its heart and soul feels very sincere.

BEING FLYNN is a deeply moving feature rich in its emotion as well as its skillfully poetic screenplay. It is difficult to come out of it without feeling some sense of how precious life is and how one must take advantage of it. It would have been easy to go for the sentimentality of it all and make Nick a victim of his family drama, or even try and paint a nicer picture of his father. Instead, Weitz follows the real Nick Flynn’s outline by painting a truthful look at starting over and the ability to forgive and forget. It is a funny story. It is a tragic story. But most of all it is a human story, warts and all.

Source: JoBlo.com

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3:39AM on 02/28/2012
I'll be seeing the film this weekend and I'm quite looking forward to it, especially because Badly Drawn Boy has written the soundtrack like they did for About a Boy, one of my favorite films.
I'll be seeing the film this weekend and I'm quite looking forward to it, especially because Badly Drawn Boy has written the soundtrack like they did for About a Boy, one of my favorite films.
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3:25PM on 02/27/2012

God I Hope So

If De Niro is truly as good in the film as advertised in the review we can all thank the Movie Gods. Maybe he will start getting better scripts. I can't believe that he isn't the first person contacted when a hot script has a well written role for a veteran actor.
I know that he seems to just be going for the money a lot of times, but it would be nice to know if he is even getting the good scripts anymore.
Same for Pacino. Though De Nero does seem to put a little more effort into his
If De Niro is truly as good in the film as advertised in the review we can all thank the Movie Gods. Maybe he will start getting better scripts. I can't believe that he isn't the first person contacted when a hot script has a well written role for a veteran actor.
I know that he seems to just be going for the money a lot of times, but it would be nice to know if he is even getting the good scripts anymore.
Same for Pacino. Though De Nero does seem to put a little more effort into his performances even in the schlock films. Al seems happy enough just to be a caricature of himself most of the time.
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2:29PM on 02/27/2012

I just have a hard time believing...

...that this is a "career best" for De Niro. Perhaps it is one of the best performances of the last decade of his career - that would be easy to believe - but c'mon, Taxi Driver? King of Comedy? Raging Bull? Mean Streets? Even Midnight Run? It's better than those?
...that this is a "career best" for De Niro. Perhaps it is one of the best performances of the last decade of his career - that would be easy to believe - but c'mon, Taxi Driver? King of Comedy? Raging Bull? Mean Streets? Even Midnight Run? It's better than those?
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2:45PM on 02/27/2012
Maybe not better than Taxi Driver or Raging Bull or King of Comedy. Yet for an older and wiser De Niro, it was fantastic and I feel like it holds up nicely next to some of the best performances of his career. He is really fantastic here and time will tell whether this will be remembered as one of his greatest roles, but for me it certainly was high on the De Niro chain. After all he is certainly one actor that has had his fair share of "career best" throughout his impressive career. More than
Maybe not better than Taxi Driver or Raging Bull or King of Comedy. Yet for an older and wiser De Niro, it was fantastic and I feel like it holds up nicely next to some of the best performances of his career. He is really fantastic here and time will tell whether this will be remembered as one of his greatest roles, but for me it certainly was high on the De Niro chain. After all he is certainly one actor that has had his fair share of "career best" throughout his impressive career. More than most.
9:16AM on 02/27/2012

out of curiosity...

what exactly is keeping you from giving it a 10? I didn't read one complaint in your review. Plus your line of this being CAREER best for Robert fucking De Niro should automatically give it a 10, considering how fantastic his pre-meet the parents resume was.
what exactly is keeping you from giving it a 10? I didn't read one complaint in your review. Plus your line of this being CAREER best for Robert fucking De Niro should automatically give it a 10, considering how fantastic his pre-meet the parents resume was.
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10:11AM on 02/27/2012
I honestly don't give very many 10 ratings. And while I would easily give Raging Bull or Taxi Driver a 10, a 9 seemed more appropriate for this film at this time. After all a 9 is pretty goddamn close to perfection. And honestly I do feel that his performance is his best in years, and one of my personal favorites.
I honestly don't give very many 10 ratings. And while I would easily give Raging Bull or Taxi Driver a 10, a 9 seemed more appropriate for this film at this time. After all a 9 is pretty goddamn close to perfection. And honestly I do feel that his performance is his best in years, and one of my personal favorites.
10:45AM on 02/27/2012
So basically something has to have more of a historical significance in the world of cinema to merit a perfect score? I can dig that. I was just curious.
So basically something has to have more of a historical significance in the world of cinema to merit a perfect score? I can dig that. I was just curious.
10:58AM on 02/27/2012
Yeah, for the most part. Although there are always exceptions. I used to be more liberal with a 10 and occasionally I regretted it.
Yeah, for the most part. Although there are always exceptions. I used to be more liberal with a 10 and occasionally I regretted it.
8:45AM on 02/27/2012
Awesome! This looked good, but certainly could have gone a totally different way.
Awesome! This looked good, but certainly could have gone a totally different way.
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6:53AM on 02/27/2012
"This is certainly a career best for each of these fine actors, which is especially impressive considering De Niro’s resume."

This is a HUUUUUGE call for De Niro.
"This is certainly a career best for each of these fine actors, which is especially impressive considering De Niro’s resume."

This is a HUUUUUGE call for De Niro.
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9:21AM on 02/27/2012
I call bullshit on that but I will definitely try to see it and decide on my own
I call bullshit on that but I will definitely try to see it and decide on my own
+5
3:02AM on 02/27/2012

And just like that

This has become one of the must-see movies of the year for me! Its good to see De Niro in a good movie again
This has become one of the must-see movies of the year for me! Its good to see De Niro in a good movie again
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2:50AM on 02/27/2012
Robert De Niro...... in a good film??? *monocle drops*
Robert De Niro...... in a good film??? *monocle drops*
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7:33PM on 02/27/2012
I gave you a thumbs up just for the monocle
I gave you a thumbs up just for the monocle
2:44AM on 02/27/2012
I loved the book, the film's title sucks, but man De Niro blew me away in the trailers alone. Can't wait for this. I think he could lock up an Oscar with this performance.
I loved the book, the film's title sucks, but man De Niro blew me away in the trailers alone. Can't wait for this. I think he could lock up an Oscar with this performance.
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