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Parents' Guide to

A Family Man

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Mediocre melodrama is too domestic to appeal to teens.

Movie R 2017 111 minutes
A Family Man Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

Great movie

Really good...watch and use your own judgment.... not other reviews or opinions.

This title has:

Great messages
age 18+

Boring with sexual scenes and banter

Weak and boring storyline - Not worth the time

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Producer-turned-director Mark Williams' predictable drama is melodramatic and unsatisfying thanks to its unlikable, unethical protagonist, who shouldn't need a dying son to become a better man. Compared to cinematic Wall Street boiler rooms and legendary real estate scams, headhunting seems a lot less compelling a field to consider cutthroat. Dafoe's hedonistic boss sets the tone for Dane's Machiavellian nature (Dane routinely sabotages clients' prospects if they're trying to get jobs outside of his firm), but the world of headhunting just doesn't have the same human interest as the salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross stealing folks' entire savings. That aside, Butler's character is just a terrible guy who only comes around when his son is literally on the brink of death. It's a clichéd character arc that reinforces the stereotype that sick and disabled people (particularly kids) exist solely to help healthy people (even parents) have breakthrough realizations about their lives. The best part of the film is Alfred Molina as Lou, a kind-hearted 59-year-old client of Dane's who wants to secure a new engineering job, not realizing that Dane's just using him to help get "placeable" younger clients more prepared for their interviews.

Brie, as a slightly more "by the books" recruiter, doesn't have enough screen time, and Mol is left with little to do but complain about her husband's critical character flaws. At the very least, she does get one "mama bear" scene in which she understandably lashes out at her hospitalized son's teacher for prematurely using his desk as tissue box storage, instead of keeping it ready for the boy's return. Butler overacts, but there are a couple of sweet moments between him and the young actor who plays his son, who loves architecture and is excited to visit the most fascinating buildings in Chicago with his dad. But a few decent scenes can't propel a movie to greatness. While watchable (the production values are polished, the actors notable), this is the sort of drama you might watch on late-night cable or stream while multitasking, not one that you run out to see in theaters.

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