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Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern stir the crowd in Venice

American actress Laura Dern and her Australian colleague Hugh Jackman, actor, come to the press event for their film "e

American actress Laura Dern and her Australian colleague Hugh Jackman, actor, come to the press event for their film “The Son”. photo

© Domenico Stinellis/AP/dpa

“The Son” by Oscar winner Florian Zeller is about depression and parenthood. Topics that protagonists Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern also cover privately. The film will premiere in Venice.

Actors Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern managed to hit audiences at the Venice Film Festival with their new film “The Son”. Florian Zeller’s drama premiered on Wednesday evening.

“The Son” follows a family’s attempt to cope with depression. It revolves around Peter (Jackman), whose life spirals out of control when his ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern) tells him about the serious problems of their son Nicholas (Zen McGrath). Peter tries to help his son through his busy job and life with his new wife (Vanessa Kirby) and baby.

From French director Zeller, who won an Oscar for the adapted screenplay of “The Father,” the film is memorable for its emotional performances from Jackman, McGrath, Dern and Kirby. Anthony Hopkins also plays. But not in the lead role as in “The Father”.

It starts with Nicholas not going to school anymore. His parents try to figure out what’s wrong with him, but the teen can’t explain it. “I don’t know how to describe it,” he says once. Or, “I can’t handle life.” This drives his parents to despair, who try to help their son – but don’t know how.

Jackman: research vulnerability through role

Mental health and parenting are matters of private concern to both Jackman and Dern. Both have two children. “One of the reasons I wanted to take on this role was to explore the vulnerability we all have as parents,” Jackman said in an interview.

For himself, therapy helped him understand his past and how it unconsciously affects his thoughts, Jackman said. “I’ve recreated some of the patterns I’ve been subconsciously repeating. And most importantly, it’s helped me be more involved with the people in my life I love.”

The film explores the powerlessness of parenthood, Dern said. “Or the inability to love each other. It’s heartbreaking when we realize — and we all feel it all the time — that we can’t save or control a loved one.”


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