Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern swept the Venice Film Festival with the world premiere of Florian Zeller’s “The Son,” which earned a 10-minute standing ovation. Jackman was visibly shaken during the film’s reception, as was the audience. Jackman hugged his young co-star Zen McGrath amidst the applause. The film, which centers on a harrowing family tragedy, elicited audible gasps from viewers during a dramatic scene. Based on this enthusiastic reception, Zeller could return for more Oscar glory with “The Son.”
“The Son” centers on “a family falling apart and trying to get back together,” according to the official synopsis from Sony Pictures Classics. Jackman plays a father whose 17-year-old son comes to live with him after deciding he can no longer stay with his mother (Dern) years after his parents’ divorce. Jackson’s character Peter has a new partner, Vanessa Kirby’s Beth. Peter tries too hard to give his son a better life.
Jackman and Dern attended the Venice premiere alongside Vanessa Kirby. Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for his role in Zeller’s latest film, “The Father,” didn’t make it to Venice, but has a spirited cameo in the film, playing Jackman’s distant but outspoken father. Sarah Ferguson walked the red carpet for the movie, while Steve Buscemi was seen at the movies. He is currently in Venice with the departure of him as director “The Listener”.
In his review of “The Son” of Venice, Variety Film critic Peter Debruge wrote, “Instead of just tearing us apart emotionally, which ‘The Son’ will inevitably accomplish anyway, it wants audiences to think…by watching ‘The Son,’ the tragedy of this family becomes in ours, and Zeller’s warning becomes impossible to ignore.”
Variety Awards editor Clayton Davis wrote in his review of “The Son” that the film is a certified Oscar contender, adding, “It’s a film that puts Hugh Jackman at the forefront of the best actor race for his remarkable performance as father who fights to help”. her troubled teenage son.
Playwright Zeller became a major directorial talent with “The Father,” which garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won Best Actor Oscars (Anthony Hopkins, who has a small role in in “The Son”) and for best adapted screenplay. which Zeller shared with co-writer Christopher Hampton. The duo worked together again to adapt “The Son” into a movie.
For Kirby, “The Son” marked another success story at the Venice Film Festival after she won best actress in 2020 for her performance in “Pieces of a Woman.” Kirby earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Dern has also been successful in Venice. Her role in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Store” first entered the Oscar conversation after the film’s world premiere in Venice. Dern would win the Oscar for supporting actress.
“The Son” will open in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on November 11.