My Dead Dad is a deeply personal feeling film with an accessible personality: Austin Film Festival review

 

When Lucas (Pedro Correa) learns that his father has passed away and subsequently left him an entire apartment complex in Los Angeles, he’s emotionally perturbed, to say the least.  Learning of such tragic news and such a vast inheritance in the one sitting would be enough for anyone to re-evaluate their existence, but given that Lucas hadn’t seen his father in a decade – their relationship severely strained – he’s unsure how to navigate going forward.

Such is the central crux of My Dead Dad, an intimate, personal drama – Correa serves as the film’s co-writer – that examines how the definition of a relationship can be recontextualized through reflection.  Taking himself from his comfortable Reno surroundings to Los Angeles, with the intent of selling off his father’s property as quickly as he can, Lucas’s plans slowly start to fall by the wayside as the building and its tenants start to invest stock in his emotional core;.

Correa and co-writer/director Fabio Frey have created quite an empathetic film with My Dead Dad, taking the audience on a journey of discovery at the same time as Lucas, with the new narrative surrounding his father being pieced together along the way.  Our only introduction to him is what we are told from Lucas or his mother, so uncovering truths about his gentle behaviour and nurturing manner from the building tenants allows such a distant character to become wholly realised.

The film’s fish-out-of-water temperament and its assortment of quirky side characters and various melodramatic situations gives the very innermost-feeling film a slightly more accessible personality – Jackass‘s Chris Pontius and The Twilight Saga‘s Booboo Stewart make for relatable turns as Lucas’s childhood friends, whilst Simon Rex brings an energy as a building tenant whose girlfriend (Courtney Dietz) takes Lucas’s fancy more than she should – resulting in a film that feels deeply distinctive to the artists behind it, yet largely attainable to a a general audience who may find it personally difficult to link themselves to Lucas’s plight.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

My Dead Dad is screening as part of this year’s Austin Film Festival, which is being presented both in-person and virtually between October 21st and 28th, 2021.  For more information head to the official Austin Film Festival page.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.

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