'James White': An Emotionally Searing Tale of Adversity, Mortality and Self-Revelation
“James White” (2015) is an intense semi-autobiographical drama from writer/director Josh Mond about a young New Yorker (Christopher Abbott) confronted by both the death of his estranged father and his mother’s physical decline due to cancer over a several-month period.
Abbott is mind-blowingly good as the volatile, self-destructive tough guy whose profound love for his mother pours out as he nurses her through her suffering, all the while desperately clinging to alcohol and escapism as emotional crutches. As the mother, Gail, Cynthia Nixon is mesmerizing in her depiction of the confusion and heartbreaking physical decline brought upon by disease.
“James White” is up-close-and-personal in its depiction of pain and sorrow, and doesn't necessarily serve as a feel-good experience. Yet as far as achingly real human drama and profound expression of emotion goes, very few films even come close.
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