Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Heavy family drama has language and mature themes.

Movie NR 2018 100 minutes
Kodachrome Poster Image

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With its "unavoidable" road trip (Why couldn't Ben get to the photo shop by plane? Because the script says so.) and heard-it-all-before family dysfunction, Kodachrome is predictable and shopworn. The first three quarters so closely follow a formula used in earlier movies (Nebraska, When Harry Met Sally, The Guilt Trip, etc.) that it is at times hard to believe Kodachrome came out in 2018. But if you've never seen a film in which two people who don't get along are thrown together for a life-changing experience, then this may be mildly enjoyable.

Fortunately, powerful performances in the film's last half-hour redeem much of the cookie-cutter banality. That writer Tropper (who also wrote the book and movie This Is Where I Leave You) took the true story of Kodachrome's final days and imposed a creaky, emotionally overwrought, paint-by-numbers plot onto it in no way excuses his lack of creativity, which is ironic as the artistic urge and its relentlessness is one of the film's themes. There's no denying that Ed Harris is a great actor, and his talent cannot be masked even by the generic, unnecessarily mean, selfish lines his character is forced to utter. Harris simply can't overcome clichés and banalities here about the importance of family and forgiveness and the need for mere mortals to see past the terrible acts of great men just because those men are, well, great. Sudeikis is convincing as the miserable son who blames his father for being a terrible man, but it's not his fault that the script never explores the way in which Matt has never looked at himself closely enough to wonder if he isn't, in his own way, a terrible man, too. (And this is a movie about a guy who looks at things for a living.) Also note that the film was shot on good old, old-fashioned 35mm Kodak film.

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