A dad goes it alone in the earnest autism drama 'Po'

A dad goes it alone in the earnest autism drama 'Po'

Gary Goldstein

A good-hearted dad must juggle a high-pressure job, the passing of his beloved wife and the demands of their special-needs child in “Po,” an earnest drama that could have used a subtler, less didactic approach to its tender subject matter.

In telling the story of David (Christopher Gorham) and his 11-year-old autistic son, Patrick or “Po” (Julian Feder), director-editor John Asher and writer Colin Goldman (sharing story credit with Steve C. Roberts) are clearly motivated by a personal desire for authenticity: Asher and Goldman, as well as Roberts and Gorham, all have sons “on the spectrum.” (The late daughter of the movie’s composer, Burt Bacharach, was also autistic.)

But the film over-relies on blunt messaging, one-note villains (bullies, bosses, administrators, worst mall cop ever) and several stacked-deck situations to align us with David and Po, even if we’re inherently on their side from the start.

A more fluid, finessed, even edgier approach to the narrative and a rethink of the movie’s cloying fantasy sequences could have made this a far more gripping portrayal on the order of Janet Grillo’s heartbreaking, similarly-themed 2011 feature “Fly Away.”

On the upside, Gorham is first-rate as the beleaguered David and Feder credibly captures Po’s physical and emotional tics and challenges with warmth and depth. Bacharach’s first original film score in 16 years is embracing and evocative.

-------------



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Michael Gove slams Donald Trump over climate change stance

Michael Gove slams Donald Trump over climate change stance..

21-Jul, 14:00

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has slammed US President Donald...

Holiday flight departs after 38-hour delay

Holiday flight departs after 38-hour delay..

21-Jul, 16:30

A flight from Aberdeen to Faro in Portugal has finally taken off after...

Blair Logan admits murdering brother in fire attack

Blair Logan admits murdering brother in fire attack..

21-Jul, 06:00

A man has admitted murdering his brother by dousing him with petrol and...

The female psychologist running Risley men's prison

The female psychologist running Risley men's prison..

21-Jul, 11:00

Running a men's prison is a tough job, and if you don't look like a...

Singapore prime minister visits Vietnam to boost ties

Singapore prime minister visits Vietnam to boost ties..

24-Mar, 03:24

Vietnam and Singapore have signed several business agreements as the...

Plane lands safely in Sydney with hole in engine casing

Plane lands safely in Sydney with hole in engine casing..

12-Jun, 02:10

A plane heading to Shanghai returned safely to Sydney after an in-flight...

Global stocks mixed on upbeat US data, rate hike prospects

Global stocks mixed on upbeat US data, rate hike prospects..

16-Feb, 05:42

Global stocks were mixed Thursday as investors took profit amid...

Electrolux sees strong growth in Q2 buoyed by N America

Electrolux sees strong growth in Q2 buoyed by N America..

19-Jul, 09:10

Strong demand from North America and Eastern Europe helped Swedish...