Being Flynn

It's been a pretty good month for me in movies and I was pleasantly surprised when Mike and I headed out to see yet another indie flick this past weekend. Being Flynn is based on Nick Flynn's memoir entitled Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. I was intrigued enough by the book's title when I came across it years ago to buy a copy for myself, but it was only recently that I actually sat down and read the thing. Though I enjoyed Flynn's memoir, this was one of those very rare cases (if not the only case) in which I enjoyed the film version better than the book.

Paul Dano, as Nick Flynn, and Robert De Niro, as Nick's father Jonathan, both deliver excellent performances as would be expected of two such talented actors. Though Jonathan was largely absent throughout the majority of his son's life, Nick knew of his father's delusions of being one of the nation's most brilliant writers. With this knowledge in the back of his mind, Nick hesitantly followed is his father's wayward footsteps, pursuing the written craft himself.

Though Nick's path is not quite as turbulent and disarrayed as his father's was, the younger Flynn inherits plenty of baggage from his parents, the unconventional single mother home in which he was raised, and the constant rotation of father figures that entered and quickly exited his life. Nick stumbles upon work at a Boston homeless shelter while in between jobs and soon finds himself stationed in gainful employment. When Jonathan shows up in line at the shelter one winter night, however, the small semblance of stability Nick has forged is quickly thrown off balance.

I appreciated Flynn's memoir and the story he had to tell; it was only his narrative style that left me less than satisfied. I entered the theater with less than high hopes for the film version, not sure how Nick's complicated story would play out on screen. But I was very much pleased by the cinematic storytelling, the pacing of the movie, and the performances delivered. Though there is yet to be an exceedingly positive consensus from the critics (according to Rotten Tomatoes), I definitely think Being Flynn is worth a shot. I left the theatre feeling good, satisfied with the $7.50 investment I made with my matinee ticket and glad that I gave the film version of Flynn's story a shot.

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