the film. This is a bit of an annoyance, because it meant it was going to take me longer to piece together how I felt about the film itself.
I think that Family Fang comes from a good bit of story-telling, but the main failings fall to the script. It tells the story of two children – now adults, Baxter (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Nicole Kidman) – that were used as props in their parent’s arthouse pieces as children. It’s an odd concept for a story, but it makes for some interesting flashback scenes. There is a wry humor in lots of it (to be expected as Bateman actually directs the film), but there is a much deeper story here.
the father and mother go missing. Annie thinks that it’s all a ruse, but Baxter desperately wants to believe that his parents wouldn’t put him through more pain than he has already gone through.
It’s there where the story finds most of its heart – in the performances of the emotionally charged Kidman and the disparate Bateman. They represent different ways that people deal with abuse, and they both handle their roles tremendously. But the way the script focuses on the mystery of the missing parents makes it the focus of the story, and the focus should be on the failings of the Fangs as parents and on the maturation of our characters. Bateman does a terrific job behind the camera with his actors, simultaneously getting the best of all the characters in the story. One of the most emotional scenes is when Bateman is relating his writing story (he is an author) to the class, and he states “I write things down when I have bad thoughts because it gives me a feeling of control”.
Another of the scenes shows when the children finally realize that they have become objects to their parents. They are completely taken advantage of when it comes to a stage performance, and it leads to confusing, incestual feelings for the two of them. You can tell that those feelings linger, too, as adults, because Baxter and Annie are just too close. Side Note - If you haven't figured it out, Annie is a play on Child "A" and Baxter Child "B" in stage/script lingo.
The style of the story is told through flashbacks, and feels a bit disjointed at times. But Bateman pulls it through, skillfully maneuvering the scenes in an emotionally wrenching way. The soundtrack is also unique, pulling original songs and classic songs and putting them to actions. But no matter what he does, the final result is a film that, due to scriptural limitations, feels flat. Characters reappear and disappear at random, leading to confusion at times. It feels like certain characters only exist to help our characters move from point A to point B, but never for them to grow from Childs A and B to Annie and Baxter.
It's because of this failing that I’m going to give Family Fang a “C”.
Check out more on this movie at IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"