Family disfunction makes for great storytelling and that’s the core of Come to Daddy from director Ant Timpson – the producer behind Turbo Kid – and written by Toby Harvard (The Greasy Strangler). Here, daddy issues serve as the twisty path for a thrill ride of a film that makes you think its one thing before going off the rails in the best way.
Norval, played by Elijah Wood, is a privileged man dealing with first world problems and of course daddy issues. With a gold phone and all the characteristics that Boomers write opinion pieces about. Recovering from addiction, Norval is reaching out for life, instead of just a semblance of one but he’s naive and pampered and honestly, for the first act of the film, very hard to like. But that’s all by design. When his father reaches out, he is open to responding to and meeting the man who left both him and his mom when he was a child. He’s open to letting his father make amends but when he arrives at the beautiful and remote coastal cabin he meets the man that’s supposed to be his dad (Stephen McHattie). This reunion with a man he has absolutely no memory of or attachment reveals his dad to be mean old man diametrically opposed to everything that makes Norval, well, Norval.
But as the two settle into their awkward father-son time, Norval quickly discovers that not only is dad a jerk but that he also has a shady past that is rushing to catch up with both of them. Now, hundreds of miles from his cushy comfort zone, Norval must battle with demons, both real and perceived, in order to reconnect with a father he barely knows and survive.
Come to Daddy excels in it’s twisting story that shifts right when you think that you have everything figured out. While the pacing in the first act is all about building up who Norval is and settling you into his character, this slow pace is jarred into motion and doesn’t stop accelerating. The film’s shifts into a frenzy at the second act it’s becomes brutal both in violence for a brief moment and in just how horrible the moments between Norval and his long-lost father are. But horrible in the best way.
Everything that comes out of his father’s mouth is a toxic spear that hits and settles in and when Norval fires back you see how messed up this budding relationship is – which is horrible and yet too good to watch on screen. But beyond the truly unhealthy father-son relationship, the bits of violence shown work to thrill you and set you off balance as you watch. But through it all there is humor. Light humor, dark humor, and overall enough jest to make everything go down easier as Norval tries to survive. Come to Daddy walks a truly unexpected path and somehow doesn’t lose a human connection to its audience as it turns.
With a runtime of just over an hour and a half, the plot of the film is tight and talking about it any more will rob you of a thrilling rollercoaster ride that Timpson and Harvard have crafted for you. All you need to know is that Wood pushes the film with a great performance and reacts like the audience reacts, driving us through this film and ultimately keeping us connected to it.
As the first in the Alamo Drafthouse’s new Fantastic Fest Presents programming you can grab tickets to see Come to Daddy in theaters February 3rd before the film hits VoD on February 7, 2020.
Come To Daddy
- Rating - 8/108/10
With a runtime of just over an hour and a half, the plot of the film is tight and talking about it any more will rob you of a thrilling rollercoaster ride that Timpson and Harvard have crafted for you.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.