The Weather Man

The Weather Man


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Nicolas Cage's latest film is a look at the commonest fear nipping at the heart of Middle America. Not the war in Iraq, nor terrorism, but the breakdown of the family unit and how - and, indeed, if - people can cope with it.

Cage plays David Spritz, the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Michael Caine), trying to balance his work as a TV weatherman with his life as a weekend dad to two kids, who have plenty of woes of their own. Shelly (Gemmenne de la Pena) is ambling through life, on the fringes of friendship, trying to find her niche, while her brother Mike (Nicholas Hoult) is fresh out of rehab, endeavouring to stay out of trouble with the help of a somewhat creepy counsellor (Gil Bellows).

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Director Gore Verbinski certainly likes blue, recalling the washed out pallet he used in The Ring. His Chicago is a cold place, veering between snow and rain. As a metaphor for modern life, the weather is a good one, seeming to pour down almost continuously. The best thing about this movie is that it is grounded in a reality with which we are all familiar.

David is having a pretty harrowing time and yet nothing exceptionally out of the ordinary is happening to him. His father is ill, his family is fractured, his job leaves him wanting more. But it is the familiarity of these situations that make the film so compelling.

Cage is neither despairing nor happy, pitching the air of striving to be a better dad with denial about David's family problems perfectly. Caine also puts in a sensitive performance, as a man who finds it tough to communicate, although an American accent never really works for him. De la Pena and Hoult are excellent as the kids, who are mixed up but basically normal, while Hope Davis is note perfect as their mum Noreen, trying to move on with her own life, while giving Shelly and Mike plenty of access to dad.

The Weather Man is full of those cringe moments we can all relate to, such as David throwing a snowball so hard at Noreen in a fit of adolescent playfulness that it breaks her glasses.

This is the film's strength. Finding the humour and the pain in the everyday.

Reviewed on: 03 Mar 2006
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How to make a fractured family work without falling apart.
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Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: Steve Conrad

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne de la Peña, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Rispoli, Gil Bellows, Judith McConnell, Chris Marrs

Year: 2005

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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