Sr (2022) Movie Review – A poignant ode to a wild and eccentric filmmaker

A poignant ode to a wild and eccentric filmmaker

Sr is a poignant and affectionate ode to a wild and eccentric filmmaker who never compromised on his vision. “I think everybody’s happier when they get out of L.A.” We’re told midway through this film, “The land of broken dreams.”

Sr is essentially a film about filmmaking, a picture that’s uncompromising on its vision to portray Robert Downey Sr through the eyes of his son and third generation in Downey Jr’s son, Exxon. The 90 minutes are shot completely in black and white, giving a nod back to those early days of experimental pictures and when Hollywood wasn’t quite so stifling and spat movies out that felt like manufactured mediocrity.

Sr starts off with a quirky and humorous tone but by the end, it turns into a much more poignant and striking movie about a father and his son, our purpose in this world and what it means to be a child bearing witness to your parental figure slowly passing. There are some genuinely moving moments, and none more so than seeing Sr. bedbound toward the end.

Before we get there though, the film cycles through Sr.’s life, predominantly centering on his various movies and how his son, Robert Downey Jr., grew up with the sound of blackboards and the swirl of cigarette smoke, drink and drugs. Having grown up his entire life with his father making indie movies, it’s perhaps ironic then that Downey Jr has become one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars.

The film is incredibly open with the entire family and there’s a lovely spontaneity and unpredictability here that mirrors some of Sr’s movies. The kaleidoscope of emotion that you’ll go through watching this is partly why it works so well and Sr. does a fantastic job of reminding us just how powerful film can be as a medium.

Sr. is essentially a generational love story that combines the process of healing and finding solace in family, with the very notion of filmmaking and creativity. It’s a poignant, well-written and thematically deep documentary that’s well worth a watch.

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  • Verdict - 8.5/10

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