Thursday, June 13, 2024

“Ezra”: The Flawed Yet Perfect Heart of a Father

Parental anguish and reverse-heroism abound in Tony Spiridakis’ “Ezra,” a dark-comedy road trip film based on Spiridakis’ own experiences with his 11-year-old autistic son. Like preceding films “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006) and “Ordinary People” (1980), this year’s “Ezra” details the complicated intricacies of father-son relationships and the fragmentation of a marriage.

Stuck in a world where neurodivergent individuals are often classified as ‘other,’ Ezra’s father Max (Bobby Cannavale) lives in a state of confused fury over how to coexist with his autistic son and the realities of our institutionalized systems. Max is a stand-up comedian, down on his luck after being booted from late night writing, with demons of his own that he wrestles on comedy club stages. Meanwhile his owlish son Ezra, a brainiac who communicates with obscure pop-culture quotes and rare physical touch, is acting out in his own ways at school. In the midst of him leading his classmates out onto the streets of New Jersey, Ezra’s school administrators recommend that he attend a school for special-needs students, and shortly after a physician suggests (really, forces) him onto a Risperdal prescription. This cocktail of turmoil sends Max into a temperamental state where he assaults the physician and is subsequently banned from seeing his son for three months. But how can a father, who desperately wants to make his son feel less ostracized, do this? He doesn’t.

Instead, Max — in another hothead moment — sneaks into his soon-to-be ex-wife’s house and kidnaps Ezra in the middle of the night for an impromptu road trip to Los Angeles for a “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” segment that’s agreed to book Max. Along the road, Ezra begins to share snippets of wise hyper-awareness and hidden affection with his father, and we watch as both individuals start to lessen their burdens.

Overall, “Ezra” is a heart-tugging film that flips the script on how children with autism and their parents are generally depicted. It doesn’t throw “right answers” or “right ways of reacting” at you; it instead offers an honest reality. There is no blanket fairytale answer to the layers of parenthood and how to help children with special needs. There is only showing them who you are, and celebrating them for who they are.

Movie Times: Click Here
Genre: Comedy Drama
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Actors: Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Robert De Niro, William Fitzgerald & Whoopi Goldberg
Run Time: 100 minutes
Rating: R for Language, Some Sexual References & Drug Use


Caroline Minchella
Caroline Minchella
Caroline was 15 years old when her family moved to Coronado. Though she was a “transplant”, Caroline found a home in the Coronado community near-immediately: she became an intern for “The Coronado Times”; helped reinstate the CHS newspaper, “The Islander Times”; was a volunteer dog-walker for PAWS; and a faithful Concert in the Park attendee.After completing her BA in English at the University of California Santa Barbara, she went on to craft answers for Amazon Alexa devices and write creatively on the side. Fast forward seven years, Caroline is thrilled to return as a Reporter for “The Coronado Times.” Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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