Philip Seymour Hoffman is usually a fairly good bet in a film, he chooses interesting roles which he plays brilliantly – and he’s directed very capably for stage too. A man without a shred of vanity, he’s one of my favourites so I was looking forward to this, but have to say I found it a bit of a wearying experience.
This is Hoffman’s first film as director and in the main, it is pretty much as you would expect – he gets strong performances from the cast, a lot of whom played their parts on stage, and it feels very much like a quality indie. This was of course a sucessful off Broadway play, and that’s where I think the problems stem from – it doesn’t have an awful lot going on and some of the scenes, like Jack learning to swim, go on a bit too long to stay interesting.
It’s not terrible, Hoffman shows some flair as a film director and the burgeoning romance is touchingly told – but for me it still felt a bit stagey and lacked the narrative bite to make it really watchable. On the plus side, as a first go, this is not bad at all, and it will be interesting to see what comes next.