Film Review: My Son (2021)

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My Son isn’t a movie I expected, which is always a good one to find! I saw that it had James McAvoy and Claire Foy, so I figured it would be amazing – and it was wonderfully well acted and filmed! The cinematography was brilliant and atmospheric, everything very grim and misty. It felt in equal parts a drama, mystery, suspense, thriller and action. But like, each moment felt distinct in and of itself, too, if that makes sense. The movie would turn a corner with one genre and slid into the next. I really appreciated that. I will say there are some parts I’m still a little unclear on, however. I feel like the movie was just starting when it ended, but overall it was still a very powerful film and I do recommend giving it a watch.

This review is going to contain some spoilers, so heads up. The storyline follows the main character, Edmond, who works abroad in the ‘oil fields’. It’s not really specified what he does, but he explains that he’s had trouble at work because of how dangerous it is and the confrontations he’s been in. The central plot focuses on Edmond returning to Britain after a long time away at work after his son goes missing from camp. His ex-wife Joan meets him and relays how difficult things have been during his long absences away. From the start, Edmond suspects Joan’s boyfriend of having a part in his son’s disappearance.

And seriously, I don’t blame him. This is one plot line that still bugs me because it wasn’t resolved by the end. But, basically, Edmond realises that Frank, the boyfriend, has been putting together plans to build a house for him, Joan and missing Ethan. Only there’s no bedroom for Ethan in the plans. Which he gleefully shows Edmond, whose son is missing. Why is he showing him these plans? Why is he so excited about this at this moment in time? He was such an unsettling character and, somewhat predictably, Edmond loses his mind. He assumes Frank’s done something wrong, and beats him up before calling the police. Upon arrival, the police arrest Edmond, but he isn’t charged as Frank doesn’t press charges. The whole scene feels like a pivotal plot point, like it’s going to be addressed later, and yet I don’t feel like it’s really addressed later at all? The plot moves on to focus on new suspects and we never really get a clear reasoning as to why Frank had these building plans and why he has absolutely no ability to read the room when Edmond was in tears over his son. Like, what is wrong with Frank?? Why don’t we get a clear answer on this? I want this part explained!

Edmond is then told by the leading investigator that the case has been dropped and the local police aren’t allowed to work on it anymore. He leaves, telling Edmond he’s on his own. Again, this part I don’t feel like is fully explained by the end, either. The case goes to London, but then what? We know Edmond continues investigating on his own locally, but why was the case transferred? Why don’t we find out about why they didn’t want the local authorities looking into the case? Why is Ethan’s case hushed up – he’s a missing child? I can’t see that happening! The whole town was in on the search and then it just stops. It builds up like there’s going to be more of a conspiracy, but like Frank and the building plans, it doesn’t really get addressed again.

After this hint from the investigator, Edmond uses Frank’s phone and find videos of Ethan in the weeks before his disappearance and happens upon two videos that feature the same car. He convinces Joan to use her brother’s connections to figure out where the car is registered and goes out to the countryside to find a creepy, derelict farm. He discerns quickly that the man there is involved in his son’s disappearance and, rather brutally, gets a location from him. He then goes to find Ethan while Joan tries to catch up with him.

The film does have a generally satisfying conclusion, but it’s also got an open ending and feels a bit abrupt, in my opinion. Like, I feel like there still needs to be another forty-five minutes of film to wrap up the creepy vibes Frank was giving off during that confrontation, to explain what was happening with the case and the investigator, and to wrap up what becomes of Edmond, Joan and Ethan in the end. It’s a wonderfully well acted film, and James McAvoy is as brilliant as always, like seriously heart-breaking in this one. I loved the cinematography and the atmosphere and felt like the film was building and building and building, but then it ended quite quickly, and I wish there was more explanation given. So, overall it was a decent watch and I would recommend it for sure, I just felt like it had a lot of loose threads by the end.

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