The Etruscan Smile Image

The Etruscan Smile

By Alan Ng | March 20, 2020

Even when the gap between fathers and sons spans an ocean and a few continents, fate has a way of bringing them together. In film, this can never be a good thing, particularly in Oded Binnum and Mihal Brezis’ The Etruscan Smile.

Rory MacNeil (Brian Cox) is a gruff, old Scotsman, whose family lived on the Hebridean Islands for over a millennia. Although Rory is sick, his lifelong goal is to live longer than his town rival. To eke out a few more days, Rory heads off the island for the first time in a long time to San Francisco, where ironically his son, Ian (JJ Field), lives.

Ian is an up-and-coming chef. He left his lucrative, yet dull, career in chemistry to follow his passion in the field of gastronomy. Ian is married to Emily (Thora Birch), and they have a toddler, Jamie. After a tasting event, Emily’s wealthy father, Frank (Treat Williams), takes a risk and invests in his son-in-law’s new restaurant.

“To eke out a few more days, Rory heads off the island…to San Francisco, where ironically his son, Ian, lives.”

The moment that Rory steps foot in Ian’s home, the differences between the two become blatantly apparent. Rory is from the old country, full of tradition, and where a man was a man. He pushed Ian hard and pushed harder when Rory’s wife/Ian’s mother passed away. The conflict grew so tense, that Ian left Scotland and never looked back.

As children do, they shunned the parenting style of their parents and went in the extreme opposite direction. In fact, Ian and Emily have read every new and progressive book on parenting, and every interaction is precisely timed for optimum development efficiency. Diet, playtime, toys, and games are strictly monitored. Jamie doesn’t have shoes because he not developmentally ready for them yet.

The Etruscan Smile (2019)

Directed: Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis

Written: Michael McGowan, Michal Lali Kagan, Sara Bellwood

Starring: Brian Cox, JJ Field, Thora Birch, Treat Williams, Rosanna Arquette, Tim Matheson, Peter Coyote, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

The Etruscan Smile Image

"…a showcase of veteran actor Brian Cox, who can still act his pants off."

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