The Benefactor – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

What begins as something interesting in which you expect an old man seeking redemption slowly spirals into the tale of a guilt-ridden drug addict with possible arrested development.

Trigger Warning(s): Drug Addiction and Self-Harm (Cutting)

Characters & Story (with Commentary)

Within 5 years everything changed for Franny (Richard Gere). He goes from being an oblivious third wheel in Bobby (Dylan Baker) and Mia’s (Cheryl Hines) marriage, to having nothing. No wife or potential mate of his own, no children of his own, and he even loses his would-be goddaughter Olivia (Dakota Fanning) for she just can’t handle all that went down. Leaving him an eccentric millionaire who runs a hospital.

But, after 5 years of radio silence, Olivia calls Franny and finds the man quickly injecting himself back into her life. Well, at least at first. For despite him mourning for 5 years, Franny almost completely ignores Olivia in favor of her husband Luke (Theo James). Someone he dotes on to the point of wondering if Franny is a homewrecker, of homosexual orientation, or if maybe in his old age he is trying to relive the best years of his life. It’s all rather hard to tell but no matter how you look at it, you can see the guilt of being the sole survivor of the car crash he, Mia, and Bobby were in weighs heavy. Likely driving every action we see.

Highlights

The Redemption Storyline Was Interesting: When Franny first comes back into Olivia’s life and comes off like the weird, eccentric uncle, I must admit I was kind of digging the character. We knew he had a bit of PTSD due to him having flashbacks, and though he distracted Bobby for but a second, I imagined between him having no one but Olivia, and all this money, he would have been overbearing but dedicated to winning her forgiveness.

The Possibility of Franny Being A Homosexual, Maybe Bobby’s Secret Lover, Was Also Interesting: With the way Franny talked about Bobby, it was hard to say if Bobby was a best friend from childhood, high school, college, or what? For, pretty much, it seemed Franny was obsessed with the man and a bit too much of a participant in his life. Almost to the point, you are left wondering if maybe Franny was a closeted homosexual. Now, what makes this theory interesting is that we don’t know if Franny’s feelings were reciprocated or not. And while the idea was in my head that maybe Franny, after the crash, focused on reviving Bobby while neglecting Mia, to get her out of the way, this wasn’t the case. Yet, I must admit if he did do something like that I would have been shocked and over the moon.

Low Points

Franny hardly interacts with Olivia: Here is what I don’t get what so ever. Franny is having a ridiculously hard time getting over Bobby’s death, and the man has left such a hole in Franny’s life that he has mostly become a shut-in. Making you think, when the one last remnant of Bobby comes back into Franny’s life, that would be his main focus, not her husband. Which is why I really felt at times maybe Franny was gay, if not a homewrecker, for while Olivia often spends time by herself, Franny is doing whatever he can to almost make Luke owe him. Hell, and as a joke, one time they end up in a homosexual situation. Something Franny plays off, but it should be noted that Franny also plays off a situation in which he wants Luke to write him a prescription for morphine.

Franny’s Downfall: Once Franny was revealed as a drug addict, and a bit of a party monster, it took away from him being this guilt-ridden eccentric, and just made him sad and pathetic. And not even the type of sad and pathetic you want to see get better, or anything like that, but a part of me just wanted to see him croak and leave everything to Olivia as a means of apologizing.

On The Fence

The Lack of Flashbacks: There were times in the movie I almost wished they would have flashed back to either Olivia’s childhood, to beef up her relationship with Franny, or Franny’s time with Bobby and, or Mia. For a part of me sometimes was left wondering how much Franny actually meant to Bobby, much less Mia. Then, when it comes to Olivia, who was he really to her childhood? Was he treated as an uncle, daddy’s business friend, or this weirdo who pops in and out and is entertaining in short spurts, but exhausting if around for long periods of time.

Final Thought(s): TV Viewing

After years of running this blog, I honestly am unsure of why I still will see Dakota Fanning’s name attached to a movie, and think it is worth checking out. For, like Emily Browning, her work is so hit and miss, more so miss than hit to be honest, that you’d think I would treat her name as I do Jessica Alba’s. Yet, there remains hope. Something which the trailer gave me, especially as Theo James yelled at Richard Gere, but alas this is another movie in which the trailer presented a better film than what you actually pay for. Hence the TV Viewing label for while the movie can potentially get you excited, and has potential for quite a while, eventually it ends up going downhill fast but thankfully you never feel it hit rock bottom.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?