The Film Club (2007)

The Film Club Book Review

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The Film Club Book Review

The Film Club is a 2007 non-fiction book written by David Gilmour. It is solid and at times great, but also flawed and slightly annoying in certain areas.

The book is a memoir of the writer himself letting his teenage son drop out of high school on the condition that the two watch movies together and discuss. The premise itself is marvelous and so authentic and the fact that it happened in real life is even more intriguing. But the execution of said premise is problematic as the book is polarizing in terms of its story. The parts with the film watching and discussion are easily the highlights as they lead to many great and interesting conversations between the two characters and they also strengthen the development of said characters.

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The second time you see something is really the first time.

You need to know how it ends before you can appreciate how beautifully it’s put together from the beginning

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However, the personal life angle is disappointing as the book focuses too much on Jesse’s love life which does give us some interesting moments, but most are boring and some are even annoying. And the fact that the focus is just on his love life instead of his hobbies and other issues is problematic. His issue with drugs was too glanced over in my opinion. As for David himself, he is a much more interesting and likable character, though he was admittedly a bit unlikable and too snobbish in some parts.

The Film Club’s writing is one of its biggest flaws as it is expectedly too modern and simplistic. The dialogue itself is pretty solid, but the other parts besides the dialogue are quite lacking with the pacing of the book also being pretty flawed as some chapters are much more abrupt and rushed in nature whereas some do drag a lot. But the dialogue is the highlight with some quite intriguing discussions between father and son to be had here.

Now, one of the standout aspects here has to be its emotional intensity. I absolutely loved that about this book with the ending in particular having many moving moments. The themes of growing up and father-son relationship are well explored and I just loved the emphasis on father’s love for his son as that is rarely written about, especially in this honest and touching manner.

The film aspect of The Film Club is pretty good. I liked most of the films Gilmour chose for the club with some of the classics being well talked about. I loved his explanations and intros to films and I loved all of those interesting facts about each and every film they watched. I loved Jesse’s reactions as well and the most admirable thing about this has to be David’s honest approach with films as he honestly says and admits if he doesn’t like some aspects in supposedly classic films. That honesty and boldness I appreciated a lot as it is unfortunately a rare quality in film critics. I just wished that he chose more older films instead of the usual emphasis on some clichéd film decades.

Jesse’s girlfriend and the endless conversations the two led concerning her are the most boring thing here. I would have liked to see more of the other characters, especially the women in David’s life as they were basically omitted here for the most part. But the two main characters and real life people are great and the relationship between the two is so good and easily the finest aspect here and the biggest reason to read this book.

The Film Club does have an annoying emphasis on Jesse’s love life and some troubled writing as well, but the film angle and the conversations they have about them are some of the highlights and the relationship between father and son is so good and it leads to many heartwarming moments. The book also has an interesting premise solidly executed and it is all around an interesting read.

My Rating – 3.6

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