Parents' Guide to

Lullaby

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Family reunites for dying dad in warm drama; some swearing.

Movie R 2014 117 minutes
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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.

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