Measure of a Man (2018)
During the summer of 1976, fourteen-year-old Bobby Marks (Blake Cooper), insecure and overweight, must endure another tortuous family vacation at Rumson Lake. His summer job, tending to the palatial estate of the reclusive, enigmatic and overly demanding Dr. Kahn (Donald Sutherland) is backbreaking. His parents (Judy Greer & Luke Wilson) appear on the verge of divorce; his sister Michelle (Liana Liberato) is forcing him to help conceal her clandestine rendezvous with the local pretty boy; and his best friend and kindred spirit Joanie (Danielle Rose Russell) is leaving for a month and won't tell him why. On top of that, a crazy townie has focused his hatred of the rich summer people exclusively on Bobby. Over the course of this emotional rollercoaster of a summer, secrets are revealed, lessons are learned and Bobby comes to understand who he is and what makes up the true measure of a man
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Measure of a Man Theatrical Review
Its a typical summer in the 1970's and the Marks Family is making their annual trek to the mountains of New York from their home in the City. Bobby (Blake Cooper; The Maze Runner) is your average, dorky, overweight teenage boy pining for his lifelong friend Joanie Williams (Danielle Rose Russell; Wonder). While Bobby's father, Marty (Luke Wilson; Old School) wants Bobby to go camping, Joanie convinces him to take a yard work job at Dr. Kahn's (Donald Sutherland; The Hunger Games) house. Unfortunately for Bobby, he has just taken the job from the local bully, Willie Rumson (Beau Knapp; The Nice Guys) who has no intentions of letting Bobby forget it.
Dr. Kahn has strict rules that the won't deviate from and Bobby must learn to adhere to them while Willie and his friends do everything in their power to derail him. The good Doctor also imparts nuggets of wisdom on Bobby subtly trying to impart life lessons on the impressionable young man. Meanwhile, Bobby's family is imploding as his mother, Lenore (Judy Greer; Ant-Man) and his father continually fight and Joanie disappears only to come back a month later with a new nose (a typical occurrence for teenage girls in the 1970's). However, after a summer of misery and backbreaking work, Bobby learns to stand up for himself and emerges as a more mature young man who is ready to stand up for himself and take on new challenges.
Cooper is refreshing as the teenager and his performance is nuanced as he meekly shies away from everything until he breaks out of his shell. Greer and Wilson are good as his parents with their own set of problems. Sutherland plays his part terrifically as the elder statesman with his own idiosyncrasies and worldly experiences. Bobby"s sister is played by Liana Liberato (If I Stay) is a nice compliment to his weakling. She exudes confidence and self-assuredness that is a stark contrast to Bobby.
The script by David Scearce (A Single Man) isn't too wordy and has a nice cadence to it. Loach's direction gives the film a nice flow and his visuals are soothing. Camera angles are average and uninspired but don't distract from the story at all. The sets and costumes are spot on and remind one of their own memories of family vacations in the mountains.
While occasionally difficult to watch the movie overall entertaining and reminds the audience to never settle and always be their best selves. Cooper has a promising career ahead of him and it will be interesting to watch him flourish. The movie is a nostalgic trip down memory lane while imparting the audience with a valuable life lesson.
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