The Parts You Lose, directed by Christopher Cantwell, plays it by the book. Within moments of meeting each character, you know exactly where they stand and where you’re expected to stand. You meet Wesley (Danny Murphy), who you’re meant to sympathize with because he’s deaf, lower on the bullying food chain than the booger kid, and his best friend’s his mom. At home, Wesley’s mother (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) coddles him—she plays him at checkers just to let him win—and his father resents him for throwing a wrench in his ideal vision of fatherhood.
“…his father resents him for throwing a wrench in his ideal vision of fatherhood.“
After a routine day at school, Wesley stumbles upon a strange man in the snow, curled up in a ball, and dressed like he fell out of a freight train. Wesley takes him to an abandoned barn and discovers he’s more than a wounded hobo, though he certainly has plenty of hobo wisdom. This role is played by Aaron Paul, and the role the man himself plays in Wesley’s life is somewhere between Alan Ladd, and E.T. Wesley brings the man leftovers and keeps him company. In return, Wesley receives a particular brand of parenting that neither of his parents is capable of providing. The man breaks open the protective shell that Wesley’s mother built around him—beating him in checkers multiple times—and gives him the practical, bitter-pill dad lessons that Wesley’s actual father is too self-concerned to provide.