Opening 29 Mar 2012
Jim Kohlberg’s directorial debut centres on a father and son relationship. When Gabriel moved out of the house after an argument, his parents (Cara Seymor, J.K.Simmons) think they have lost their son forever. Indeed, it takes twenty years before they see him again. After a brain tumour operation the young man suffers from severe amnesia. He has no memory of events past 1970. With the help of a music therapist (Julia Ormond) playing favoured records of his youth, his memory is partly re-activated. His father Henry is thrilled, eager to make up for lost opportunities. Once he loathed the musical taste of his son, but now he is searching for any old records of his son’s beloved music. He even learns the lyrics, discovering bands like Cream, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Re-living Gabriel’s (Lou Taylor Pucci) teenage years, he has an emotionally rewarding time with his son. Through a radio competition he wins two tickets for a live performance of Gabriel’s favourite group The Grateful Dead. Both of them experience a wonderful evening. Sadly, this is also the end of their time together. Henry does not survive his second heart attack. Who is going to joke and sing along with Gabriel stuck in his 1960’s time capsule?
The film is based on Dr. Oliver Sacks’ case study published with his book The Last Hippie. He worked with his patient for fifteen years (from 1977). Oliver Sacks is probably the best-known neurologist world-wide. I was most intrigued by one of his first books, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. With his books and numerous articles in journals he has made science understandable for the man in the street, earning him a number of distinguished university awards. (Birgit Schrumpf)