Directed by Paul Weitz
Starring Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Julianne Moore, Olivia Thirlby
"Being Flynn," filmmaker Paul Weitz's ambitious adaptation of writer Nick Flynn's impressionistic memoir "Another B------- Night in Suck City," is an admirable cinematic endeavor.
It's a sincere, serious-minded movie centered on big issues - including
fatherhood, homelessness and the ways in which we tell our life stories - and it offers a Robert De Niro performance that occasionally shows flashes of his acting genius. That said, Weitz also gives us deeply flawed characters that aren't remotely likable, and he keeps the action at a philo-
sophic remove that robs it of tangible feeling.
De Niro plays alcoholic cabdriver Jonathan Flynn, who fancies himself a great American writer. Paul Dano is his estranged son Nick, also an aspiring writer, who is spending his 20s in an unhappy haze.
Seeking purpose, Nick takes a job at a homeless shelter, where he also romances his co-worker Denise (Olivia Thirlby). Things start looking up for Nick, until his father - beset by a series of calamities - becomes the shelter's latest resident.
The film offers some emotional truths in its portrait of a wayward father and son processing each other for the first time. But "Being Flynn" is so bent on reflecting its abrasive main characters' psychological states - borderline psychotic on the one hand and thoroughly disaffected on the other - that it's often insufferable.
Playing at AMC Loews Lincoln Square and Landmark Sunshine