Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern devastated the Venice Film Festival with the world premiere of “Florian Zeller”The sonwhich earned him a 10-minute standing ovation. Jackman appeared visibly moved upon receiving the film, as did the audience. Jackman hugged his young co-star Zen McGrath amid the standing ovation. The film, which focuses on a heartbreaking family tragedy, caused audible gasps from viewers during a dramatic scene. Based on that enthusiastic reception, Zeller could be back for more Oscar glory with “The Son.”
“The Son” centers on “a family as they fall apart and attempt to come together again,” according to the official synopsis from Sony Pictures Classics. Jackman stars as a father whose 17-year-old son comes to live with him after deciding he can’t stay with his mother (Dern) years after his parents divorce. Jackson’s character, Peter, has a new partner, Vanessa Kirby’s Beth. Peter goes above and beyond to give his son a better life.
Jackman and Dern were both present at 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 all the way to Venice, but he has a spirited appearance in the film, playing Jackman’s distant but very outspoken father. Sarah Ferguson walked the film’s red carpet, while Steve Buscemi was spotted at the cinema. He is currently in Venice with his directorial release “The Listener”.
In his opinion of “The Son” of Venice, Variety Film critic Peter Debruge wrote: “Instead of just tearing us apart emotionally – which ‘The Son’ will inevitably succeed in doing anyway – he wants to make audiences think…by watching ‘The Son’ play, the This family’s tragedy becomes our own, and Zeller’s warning becomes impossible to ignore.
Variety awards editor Clayton Davis wrote in his analysis of “The Son” that the film is a certified Oscar contender, adding, “This is a film that puts Hugh Jackman at the forefront of the best acting race for his standout performance as a father struggling to help his teenage son in difficulty.”
Playwright Zeller became a talented director with ‘The Father,’ which garnered six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and won Best Actor Oscars (Anthony Hopkins, who has a small role in ‘The Son’ ) and Best Adapted Screenplay, which Zeller shared with co-writer Christopher Hampton. The duo worked together again to adapt “The Son” into a film.
For Kirby, “The Son” marked another success at the Venice Film Festival after winning Best Actress in 2020 for her performance in “Pieces of a Woman.” Kirby went on to earn a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Dern also found success in Venice. Her role in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Store” first entered the Oscars conversation after the film’s world premiere in Venice. Dern would go on to win the supporting actress Oscar.
“The Son” will open in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on November 11.