Ezra | TIFF 2023 | Review by: Stefano Bove

Very few films have been able to properly educate viewers about living with autism but Tony Spiridakis' own experience co-parenting a child with autism, allowed him to properly communicate the struggles. He went on a nationwide search for a boy that best fit Ezra and he nailed it with William Fitzgerald. 

Former late-night turned stand-up comedian, Max Brandal (Bobby Cannavale) gets his stand-up "mojo" from his son, Ezra (William Fitzgerald). Max Co-parents with ex-wife Jenna (Rose Byrne) but that does not mean they agree on how to properly care for their son and his autism. One evening, Ezra gets himself in harm's way and that causes Max and Jenna to discuss possible resolutions to the dramatic situation. Max has an impulsive tendency to defend Ezra from any opinion he does not agree with that eventually gets him into trouble as well. In his own twisted way, he thought the best way to defend Ezra from all of the drama was to remove him from the equation and take him on an impulsive road trip to LA to help his stand-up career without anyone's knowledge. Max's dad, Stan (Robert De Niro) is stuck in the middle of the family drama when Jenna asks for his help to find Max and Ezra. Jenna contacts the police out of desperation and in an effort to try backpedal on the police call, Stan and Jenna then begin their own pursuit in an effort to resolve the issue before the police do. 

The dynamic between the four leads is wholesome and genuine. Bobby Cannavale reunites with Robert De Niro after working in the Irishman together and the two have perfect chemistry together as Father and son. Rose Byrne who plays Jenna, is Bobby Cannavale's real life wife so I am assuming the arguing comes natural to them. William Fitzgerald is an absolute delight as Ezra and Hearing that William improved a lot in the final cut brings a smile to my face because he was genuinely a wonderful presence and worked so effortlessly with his seasoned cast. 

This unapologetic family drama has its heart in all of the right places. Even though I was not a fan of how certain things in the movie played out, the chemistry between the actors and their dialogue really sells it. I am happy I managed to catch a screening of it during the Toronto International Film Festival.


Review by: Stefano Bove

#tiff #tiff2023 #toronto 

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