It has become quite common that holidays become a playground for filmmakers. Some take it seriously, some take it with humour, others with a machine gun. Betty Ouyang picked Father’s Day to discuss more than just lies children and parents say, no matter what age they are. As she listened to the call of Submit Your Film, here comes a closer look.
Two sisters (and a variety of vermin) sharing an apartment in Los Angeles invite their father for a Father’s Day lunch. The tension between the sisters rises and they cannot really hide that in front of the father. Moreover, his keen eye could not oversee the stock of vermin-killing gadgets and spray, no less the overdue bills. Not only because of the “OVERDUE BILLS” marking.
The lifestyle choices talked over the meal bring up issues related to the life of artists in Los Angeles. Ouyang manages to cover a wide range of topics that would get any parent worried and that trouble many “children”. She points out the poor housing options, the necessity of multiple jobs of various nature, drugs, and sexuality. Yet, she never loses the family from the viewfinder. She manages to show the care hidden under the bickering, under the silence, or even the lies.
From the standpoint of the ideological richness, there is little to criticize. Yet, there are some scriptwriting/storytelling choices that halt the fluency of the film. This is most palpable in the obviousness of how the father learns things. Sometimes, he literally reads or comments what is shown in the picture. At other places, the spectator is assured that the father “overhears” his daughters quarrel.
The overall performance and presentation of all the ideas, topics and the outcome of the family reunion would profit from more time of preparation. This primarily concerns the script, be it the dialogues or the order of the scenes. Moreover, the scenes and the actors would profit from a little longer transitions. The abrupt cuts between scenes make the acting hasty and paper rustling under the dialogues more intense.
As a kind of a message to parents, “Father’s Day” works just fine. Not only it contains the excuse for all things unsaid, but it also acknowledges the parents’ love. It also conveys a call of support to all artists who struggle but don’t lose faith. Yet, it is mainly the spoken word that carries information and communicates emotion. As one of the results, “Father’s Day” leaves a feeling of a film prepared and realized too speedily.