Parenting, Autism and Abduction – Ezra Hits Theaters

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Ezra Movie Review

This weekend, a movie that is trying to blend parenting, comedy, and autism hits theater screens this weekend. Ezra, the newest release from Bleecker Street stars Bobby Cannavale as Max a father trying to find his way in the stand-up world, and co-parenting his autistic son with his ex-wife. At the same time he gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, things come to a head with Ezra and his ex-wife which makes him take drastic measures.

Billed as Max and Ezra embark on a cross-country road trip, the movie focuses on Max abducting Ezra. While his intentions are good, he’s going against a restraining order while committing another crime as he does it. He feels he’s the only one who seems to know what’s best for his son, but continues to put him in situations that aren’t in his best interest, even if he wasn’t dealing with restrictions due to his autism. It’s not an easy to watch at times, and while intentions should be good – they’re as sad as most of the jokes that Max tells in the clubs.

Ezra isn’t a bad movie, and it has a lot of heart. But even if we excuse the parental kidnapping, that the movie desperately tries to make into no big deal, it seems to be lacking something. Sure, it focuses on the love the parents have for their children and the extremes they’re willing to go to to make sure they get what they need – but it still feels like there should be more.

The consequences for Max taking Ezra are addressed, but not the real-life ramifications of his actions. It’s almost like they tried to write the fact that his ex-wife took back her accusations and made it a lesser charge – when he still broke the law. Yes, there’s a fine line between reality and movies, but when 58% of all Amber Alerts are made due to familial kidnapping – maybe this shouldn’t be the crux of the story. Yes, parenting is hard, parenting children on the spectrum is even harder – but maybe this isn’t something to make jokes about.

While it is nice to see a story focusing on the normalization of autism and the parents’ fight to provide him with a normal life. Ezra still seems to be lacking somewhere along the way. Ezra is in select theaters this weekend.

Overall Rating

Two and a half star reviews

About Ezra

Ezra poster

EZRA follows Max Bernal (Bobby Cannavale), a stand-up comedian living with his father (Robert De Niro), while struggling to co-parent his autistic son Ezra (introducing William Fitzgerald) with his ex-wife (Rose Byrne). When forced to confront difficult decisions about their son’s future, Max and Ezra embark on a cross-country road trip that has a transcendent impact on both their lives. Directed by Tony Goldwyn, who also appears in the film alongside additional cast members Vera Farmiga, Rainn Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg, EZRA is an endearing and often funny exploration of a family determined to find their way through life’s complexities with humor, compassion, and heart.

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