2017-07-14 07:44

What it's about:

Outwardly, Howard Wakefield is the picture of success. He has a loving wife and two daughters, a prestigious job as a Manhattan lawyer, and a comfortable home in the suburbs. Inwardly, though, he’s suffocating. One day, something snaps and Howard goes into hiding in his garage attic. Leaving his family to wonder what happened to him, he observes them from the attic window—an outsider spying in on his own life. As the days of self-imposed isolation stretch into months, Howard begins to wonder: Is it even possible to go back to the way things were?

What we thought:

It’s hard to stick to your guns about a movie when it has a pretty good rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 74% to be exact.

Clearly I am in the percentage of reviewers who didn’t absolutely love Wakefield.

Based on the short story by E. L. Doctorow the film centres on Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) a litigator who goes through a midlife crisis.

He has the perfect privileged life, a successful career, a trophy wife (Jennifer Garner), twin daughters and lives in a nice house in the ‘burbs.  But one day his life gets so hard for him that he simply “vanishes”. 

He hides out in the attic above their garage for a year. During this year he scavenges for food and watches his family from the attic window.

For me it was really hard to like this character and relate to him in anyway. I understand that there could be a wanting to escape your life but his motive for getting away from it all just isn’t feasible for me. 

Another huge issue that I have with the story is that it is solely told through Howard’s eyes, he is the narrator of this story and none of the other characters have agency expect through flashbacks.

And he is also an unreliable narrator at that; he actually confesses that he is a shitty person especially when he recounts the story of how he “won” over his wife.

Howard’s character also doesn’t go through much visible growth. In a drama of this kind you expect the lead character to do some reflection and have a big ‘ah-ha’ moment but alas nothing. 

The film drags quite a bit and the climax scenes aren’t that satisfying. 

When it comes to the acting I really can’t fault the actors. 

If Cranston’s aim was to make you despise the character he certainly succeeded. I will give him props for putting his all in bringing the somewhat eccentric character to life.

The rest of the cast are secondary to Cranston’s Howard making them background noise.

If you’re a Cranston fan you will probably enjoy this film. If you like your drama with a bit more meat, skip this one. 

Read more on:    bryan cranston  |  jennifer garner  |  movies

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