For Reel

Midnight Special (2016)
April 17, 2016, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Jeff Nichols
4 Stars
Midnight SpecialOver the past decade, director Jeff Nichols has carved out a career of family dramas which focus largely on father-son relationships and, particularly, histories of regret and bitterness between loved ones. The catch is that his latest films deal with something extraordinary—in Midnight Special, the young son (Jaeden Lieberher) is gifted with supernatural abilities that make him targeted by both cult members and the government. And yet to say the film is about fugitives on the run does a disservice to the countless quiet, small moments that reflect on the ties that both bind and separate people. Characters in Nichols’ movies often have a history that they’re running from, but in Midnight Special that is extended to an ambivalence towards the future—although every parent wishes the best for their child, the anxiety of letting them go is a consuming one. Some have taken exception to where Midnight Special goes the third act, but the events that unfold don’t cheapen what came before. Whereas the otherwise excellent 10 Cloverfield Lane hinged completely on a single question, the nature of the magical child of Midnight Special is not so much the concern as is how those around him will cope with the new information, and how far they can take him in order to fulfill his ultimate destination.

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