The Family Fang: And You Thought Your Family Was Messed Up

The Family Fang is a comedy drama film directed by Jason Bateman.  The plot follows the dysfunctional Fang Family as they are forced back together again, causing old issues to be readdressed. The parents of the family are performance artists who forced their children into a number of uncomfortable and awkward situations in service of their art and that has led to a hate-filled rift between the parents and the children. It is based on the novel of the same name by David Linday-Abaire.

This is Bateman’s second direction effort, he also co stars alongside Nicole Kidman, and it marks a very noticeable shift in his direction sensibilities. If you look at Bateman’s first effort Bad Words it is certainly an off colour, off key comedy film that feature dramatic elements, however it is still a comedy film first. Whereas this film is very much a drama film, with a few moments of darkly humorous relief, following this through into Ozarks you can see how Bateman is moving further and further away from traditional comedy, and is instead pushing into much darker territory.

It is with that in mind, that I advise you not to watch this film as a comedy film as that is a miscategorisation, but to understand and watch this film for the drama film it is. As a drama film this film is sublime, it examines parents and children and how the two are intertwined. Should everyone and anyone be a parent? When does it become self-serving? What can a parent do to a child and then ask for forgiveness for?

The performances from Bateman, Kidman and Christopher Walken are all terrific, they perfectly capture different elements of the broken family paradigm and reflect them outwardly. Walken particularly shines here as an antagonist, his character scenes with the kids are both heart-breaking and infuriating and strongly performed.

I find myself being reminded of Captain Fantastic

Overall, a very strong drama film miscategorised.

Pros.

The performances

The concept

The examination of the effects of parenting

Cons.

It is poorly paced

The ending doesn’t feel as satisfying as I would like

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke      

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