What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lullaby is a family drama centered on a dying patriarch who's decided to be taken off life support, over the objections of his wife and adult children. There are some intense arguments as they hash out old conflicts, but also some tender moments as they find ways to reconcile. Expect a good deal of swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more), some drinking, and a scene of drug use, as well as many scenes that show the main character (and another) smoking cigarettes. His nicotine addiction is actually a minor plot point. Characters also kiss and talk about sex, but there's nothing graphic.
What's the story?
Jonathan (Garrett Hedlund), who's returning to New York to visit his dying father, is taken aback when he learns that Dad (Richard Jenkins) has requested to be removed from life-support machines the next morning. It's a decision that sends everyone reeling, prompting them to examine their relationships with the family's patriarch and one another. And it allows one last day for Robert, his sister, and their mother to hash out plenty of old family conflicts and say their goodbyes.
Is it any good?
It may, in fact, be impossible for Richard Jenkins to play a false note; he is superb here. The immensely talented and often underrated actor plays a dying father who adores his family but has also managed to alienate them many times over. He's a cauldron of pride, pathos, and disappointment as he reflects on what he has achieved, all while remaining relatable, too.
But the story actually centers on Jonathan, not his dad, and Hedlund unfortunately pales in comparison to Jenkins. While Jonathan is supposed to come to terms with his family, Hedlund seems stiff (some of which can be attributed to the character, but not all) -- he's good with the anger and frustration but not the thoughtful reckoning. Still, the film's message is potent: Families are messy and lovely, and farewells to them are even more so.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what Lullaby is saying about families. What's the main takeaway? Are the characters and their interactions realistic/believable? What would a movie about your family be like?
How is Robert's situation differ from that of Meredith, another terminally ill patient? How do they both face the fact that they're dying?
What do you think about Robert's decision to be taken off of life support? Is his family supportive? Do they eventually change their mind?
|Theatrical release date:||June 13, 2014|
|DVD release date:||July 29, 2014|
|Cast:||Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Anne Archer, Jessica Brown Findlay|
|Topics:||Brothers and sisters|
|Run time:||117 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||for language and brief drug use.|