In welcoming Willis (a masterful Lance Henriksen), his cantankerous Midwest farmer dad, into his California home, John (Viggo Mortensen) likewise opens the door to painful memories of decades-old trauma that set these men on their respective trajectories. Living with his partner (Terry Chen) and their young daughter (Gabby Velis), John yearns to reconcile with Willis before encroaching dementia takes its toll. But even when abetted by his sister (Laura Linney in one of 2020’s finest supporting turns), and despite John’s almost saintly patience and grace, it appears that the rot of resentment may simply run too deep.
In interviews, Mortensen has spoken candidly about the deeply personal, if not outrightly autobiographical, nature of his directorial debut. What makes Falling such a remarkable accomplishment though is his ability to craft richly detailed characters and intricate interpersonal dynamics that are specific to this intimate drama and yet delineate the fault lines that threaten the foundations of many families. Buoyed by instances of humour and grounded in candour, it affectingly depicts how simple acceptance is the greatest act of familial love.
Lance Henriksen, Viggo Mortensen, Terry Chen, Sverrir Gudnason, Hannah Gross, Gabby Velis, Laura Linney
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Viggo Mortensen has consistently earned acclaim for his work as an actor in a wide range of films. These include Green Book, Captain Fantastic, A History of Violence, The Road, Jauja, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mortensen is also poet, photographer, and painter. He is the editor of Perceval Press, an independent publishing house which he founded in 2002. His new collection of poetry and photography is Lo que no se puede escribir (What Cannot Be Written).