Watching ‘Being Flynn’ is like eating a heavy meal right before you go to bed, it is very hard to digest. The subject matter is so loaded that it took me a while to understand how I felt about the movie, and that effect on its own says a lot. The movie is entertaining up to a certain point because the story develops delicately and although it only runs for 1hour 42 minutes, there’s a precise moment in the end where if it would have finished, it would have been enough. This true-life story no doubt is interesting but perhaps it is this very element of realness what drags it down.
The film narrates the life of Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) from his childhood to his adulthood. He tells us of his absent father, Jonathan (Robert De Niro) and about his obsessiveness of being a writer. Despite many obstacles in his childhood his single mother, Jody (Julianne Moore) was able to raise a somewhat normal child. Although he does seem to be struggling, he starts putting his life on track by working at a shelter in Boston and just as he seems to be shaping his life how he wants it his father comes in to mess with any kind of confidence or goals that he may have. The struggle between these two is what carries the movie forward and what brings on the heavy sentimental tiring subjects.
Dano does a good job at capturing the very complicated life of this man who’s had very little in his favor to reach his goals. De Niro plays well the character of an arrogant, self-centered alcoholic; he really is such a versatile actor that you can almost believe him to be this character in real life. There’s no denying that the movie is most intense in the homeless shelter scenes, it is such a haunting dose of reality because of the sense that nowadays specially with the economic crisis anyone can end up in this situation.
Most true-life stories that turn into movies usually have great success because of all the elements that it combines, but in this one the sad reality is way heavier than the uplifting moments; therefore you come out depressed and pensive. The fact that it does open our eyes more to certain things we overlook such as homeless people is a very positive point of the movie but having to deal with all the other emotions it brings is too much of a burden to want to be excited about seeing this film.