Well, this is awkward. Listen, family dramas are unique to each and every family — it’s that old Tolstoy quote, really: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” — and it’s hard to judge each family on its own issues, but the family at the heart of Andrew Levitas’ Lullaby, well, it might be polite to say that they have a lot going on. And we can’t say that we’re comfortable with most of it.
The new film stars Garrett Hedlund as an estranged son who finds his world turned upside down with the news that his dad — played by the always-great Richard Jenkins — has decided to pull the plug. No, really, his own life support plug, as he has battled cancer for most of his kids’ lives, and he’s sick of it. This sounds like enough drama for one film, right? Wrong. So very wrong.
The film’s official synopsis clues us into the, uh, grand nature of the film’s plot:
Estranged from his family, Jonathan (Hedlund) discovers his father has decided to take himself off life support in forty-eight hours’ time. During this intensely condensed period, a lifetime of drama plays out. Robert (Jenkins) fights a zero sum game to reclaim all that his illness stole from his family. A debate rages on patients’ rights and what it truly means to be free. Jonathan reconciles with his father, reconnects with his mother (Archer), sister (Brown-Findlay), and his love (Adams) and reclaims his voice through two unlikely catalysts—a young, wise-beyond-her-years patient (Barden) and a no-nonsense nurse (Hudson). Through this intensely life-affirming prism, an unexpected and powerful journey of love, laughter, and forgiveness unfolds.
That’s some drama, you guys. But how much of that can we detect in the film’s first trailer? Let’s find out! (Also, Amy Adams, Terrence Howard, and Jennifer Hudson are there, too, which adds both instant star power and total confusion to the feature, but at least it allows the marketing to play up its stacked cast of Oscar nominees and winners.)
Well, at least Hedlund hasn’t abandoned his singing after Country Strong. That’s a good thing, right? Guys? Come back! We’ve got more life-ending illnesses to sing about!
Lullaby opens on June 13th.
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