Written by: Bradley Grant Smith
Starring: Baize Buzan, Allison Torem, Tim Hopper, Guy Massey, Keith Kupferer
No matter the time spent away or distant, it’s never too late to reconnect with a family member. Even if past issues have gotten in the way, the bond built through blood opens the door for pathways back if the two parties want to consent. Our Father tells a story about this estrangement and how coming back together may bring its challenges, and revitalize past grievances, but ultimately can be worth all of the trouble because of the love forever existent in family.
With the recent passing of their father, Beta (Baize Buzan) reconnects with her sister, Zelda (Allison Torem) as they try to learn what their father left behind. In the process they learn about a distant uncle they never knew about and make their way to potentially meet him while also connecting on their own with each other for the first time in what feels like forever.
Seeing stories with estranged family members hold a sense of reality because these things occur even with strong foundations set in place. Beta and Zelda certainly did not have the perfect conditions growing up and as adults have found themselves in nonideal circumstances. I mean, one of the first times we see Beta comes from her being awoken from sleeping in her vehicle. This trip provides the opportunity for more than just getting closure on their father but in the process of reaching their uncle, they can reconnect with each other in a way that has not occurred in many years, which serves as an unintended positive to this trip.
The different personalities these two hold do make for quite the duo to be traveling together. Beta certainly gives the appearance of having a more well-adjusted life and more so finds herself in a temporary bind while Zelda lives the more chaotic life that provides some inherent comedy, especially when compared to Beta. Much like their living situations, what they bring to the story as characters reflects their personality with Beta providing a sense of stability and Zelda a bit more zaniness and lack of control. As you can imagine, this causes some tension between them and as the film progresses, it becomes obvious what drove them apart for some time along with the rest of their family. However, the chaos they feel they cause in each other’s lives makes for great entertainment for everyone else.
While in the process of looking for this uncle the inadvertent nature of these two coming together really makes the film a sweet experience. From the unknowingly fond glances they give each other on top of the irreverent ones, this film certainly contains its heartwarming moments as well as the awkwardly comedic ones. This mostly occurs when they interact with their father’s side of the family and the strangeness they appear to effortlessly emanate. The comedy of these scenes along with the weirdness explains so much about why they dread going through this process as the journey just gets more difficult as they go along.
Pushing along this narrative are the performances by Baize Buzan and Allison Torem, who both need to continually make this story engaging. With several sequences of them alone when driving and simply having discussions, these two do quite a good job of handling this all. They both give off this quiet, nearly unspoken pain existing in both of their lives. Eventually, everything will come out for both to know, but the wall these two actors create through their expressions to guard their real feelings really works to hide the little mysteries of their feelings. Impressive work on their end and hopefully their turn in this film gives them the lift they need to continue to give these types of performances in the future.
A bit slow at times, but ever-engaging, Our Father combines the pain of revisiting family both in the extended and the nuclear, especially with unspoken rocky pasts. Propelled forward by two strong actor performances and good direction by Bradley Grant Smith sees this film execute its messaging well. With all of the talk, the disagreements, and peeling back the layers of what has caused these two pain, the conclusion really puts it all together in a meaningful way making it all worth it for these two sisters.