janeyb, July 11, 2008 (view all comments by janeyb)
As a film lover and mother of a young adult and two teens, I loved this book. As his son's grades decline, David Gilmour allows him to drop out of high school. The agreement is that father and son will watch three movies a week of dad's choosing.
As a parent, I don't know that I would or could handle things that way, but it's an interesting experiement. There is movie trivia and discussion, but mostly this book is about the never-ending letting go that parenting requires. In some ways, I could see my own son in David's son. Bright, artsy kids don't always thrive in a typical high school setting.
I wouldn't call this book a parenting manual, though Gilmour shares some thoughtful thinking "outside the box". I enjoyed both the film and parenting aspects of this memoir. Mostly I loved seeing this dad's creative wisdom as he strengthens his bond with his son.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (14 of 25 readers found this comment helpful)
What kind of father would allow his son to drop out of high school as long as the kid agreed to watch three movies of the father's choosing each week? Want to start an interesting conversation about parenting and education? Talk about what Gilmour did. Before the book was published, I'd already given advance copies to four friends. Yes, there's plenty inside for film geeks to savor, but, casual moviegoers, don't be deterred. The Film Club is full of love and short on answers — come to think of it, not unlike some of those good friends.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In this poignant and witty memoir, Canadian novelist Gilmour (A Perfect Night to Go to China) grapples with his decision to allow his teenage son, Jesse, to leave school in the 10th grade provided he promises to watch three movies a week with his father. Determined not to force a formal education on his son, former film critic and television host Gilmour begins the film club with Truffaut's The 400 Blows — with Basic Instinct for 'dessert.' There are no lectures preceding the films, no quizzes on content or form: just a father and son watching movies together. Expertly tracing the trials and tribulations of teenage crushes and heartbreak, Gilmour explores not only his choice of films but also Jesse's struggles with his girlfriends and burgeoning music career. There are 'units' on everything from undiscovered talent (Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning debut in Roman Holiday) to stillness, exemplified by Gary Cooper's ability in High Noon to steal a scene without moving a muscle. Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents, watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Richard Russo,
"I loved David Gilmour's sleek, potent little memoir, The Film Club. It's so, so wise in the ways of fathers and sons, of movies and movie-goers, of love and loss."
by Sean Wilsey,
"If all sons had dads like David Gilmour, then Oedipus would be a forgotten legend and Father's Day would be a worldwide film festival."
by Toby Young,
"David Gilmour is a very unlikely moral guidance counselor: he's broke, more or less unemployed and has two children by two different women. Yet when it looks as though his teenage son is about to go off the rails, he reaches out to him through the only subject he knows anything about: the movies. The result is an object lesson in how fathers should talk to their sons."
by Very Short List,
"[A] touching, witty story about cinema, and how fathers and sons really interact."
"Both for its smart, engaging movie talk and for its touching depiction of a father-son relationship, The Film Club gets two thumbs way up."
by Library Journal,
"Accompanying [Gilmour's] wisdom on life and love is a father's seasoned understanding and support for his teenager's crippling romantic distresses."
Gilmour offers his 15-year-old son an unconventional deal: Jesse can drop out of school, but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing. Through their film club, father and son discuss everything from love to drugs — and their own lives change in surprising ways.
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