Friday, June 9, 2023

‘About My Father’ film has laughs, heart and relatable family dynamics

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

When Sebastian gets invited to his girlfriend Ellie’s family summer home at a country club, he brings his Italian father, Salvo along. As Sebastian tries to gain acceptance from Ellie’s family in order to propose to her, his father makes things harder than expected, but better in the long run. This is a funny, sweet movie that will bring laughter and maybe tears.

“About My Father” stars Robert De Niro, Sebastian Maniscalco, Leslie Bibb, Kim Cattrall, David Rasche, Anders Holm, and Brett Dier.

Sebastian’s (Maniscalco) story begins like most Americans stories on another continent, in Sicily. His father, Salvo (De Niro) is from there and moved to Chicago where he is a Sicilian hair stylist.

Sebastian was brought up in a very Italian household with old school values and work ethic. He fell for the complete opposite of himself, Ellie (Bibb) who opened his eyes to many things like naps, beauty regimes and smiling. She is a painter and has her own art gallery.

When Ellie’s parents invite her and Sebastian to their summer country club, Sebastian describes it crudely as being classy; he says the dogs there went to better schools than him.

This weekend will be the perfect opportunity for him to propose. This invitation may mean he is breaking through to being accepted by Ellie’s family.

Salvo is not so sure about Ellie and doesn’t hold back in letting Sebastian know this. If Sebastian wants to marry her, Salvo wants to meet the parents. Ellie suggests Salvo come along, but Sebastian fears he’ll embarrass him.

Salvo wants to go, and he does. These families are from two entirely different walks of life. Ellie’s father Bill (Rasche) is a hotel mogul, her mother Tigger (Catrall) is a U.S. Senator, her brother Lucky (Holm) is wealthy, and her brother Doug (Dier) is more of a spiritual eccentric.

Salvo has trouble relating to them at first and doesn’t want Bill and Tigger to pay for his lunch. He says they’re strange and nobody has a job.

Sebastian explains that they have their money in the stock market and not mayonnaise jars buried in the back yard.

Bill offers Sebastian a job at one of his hotels in an effort to get him and Ellie to move from Chicago to the District of Columbia. Sebastian thinks about it.

There is a cringy flyboarding scene that is pretty funny.

Salvo has had enough and wants to leave. Sebastian tells him Ellie is his future and Salvo should make more of an effort. Sebastian wants to see the Salvo at the salon everybody likes.

A few other things happen that could jeopardize the weekend. It’s not just Sebastian who has an issue with his parent.

This movie is full of great lines and De Niro is nothing short of hilarious. At one point, Sebastian is hesitant to tell Salvo he’s been taking tennis lessons. Salvo tells him the country club is like a cult, except instead of Kool-Aid they serve champagne.

I found this movie very relatable in terms of being embarrassed by your family. When serving a home-cooked meal to Ellie and her family, Salvo says his father had an old Italian saying, “family isn’t one important thing. It’s everything.”

This is a movie families can relate to. While it’s rooted in Italian culture, the overall message is one of family. There is mild language and brief nudity.

Two sound bowls up!

Now playing only in theaters. <

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