Nowhere Special Review
Nowhere Special has a ten-tissue setup. Similar in tone and theme to his Still Life, another film that deals thoughtfully with death, Uberto Pasolini's inspired-by-true-life drama is built on such a saccharine premise — a dying father trying to find new parents for his child — that it makes a Hallmark Christmas movie look like Scorsese at his darkest. However, the film of Pasolini is more composed and engaging than the TV logline for the film of the week suggests. It's well-written (save one mistake) beautiful, well-played and expertly judged tone-wise the film is small in size but is a powerful punch.
In essence, Nowhere Special is a two-hander with windows cleaning John (James Norton) and his four-year-old son Michael (Daniel Lamont). The film flawlessly depicts their relationship in small scenes whether it's taking Michael up from school or with Michael in the nearby park (in an observant way Michael's clothes are constantly changing as John is wearing the same suit which is a subtle reminder the single father's priorities). As the film progresses, the core of the story is revealed: John is taking Michael to meet potential adoptive parents since he's suffering from an unknown disease. The meet-and-greets are essentially theatrical pieces of their own in that John (and Michael, who constantly sits in the conversation going on over his head) takes part in speed dates with prospective families in order to find the ideal match. outdoor couple? A rabbit-loving family? A huge brood? In all cases it is obvious that they will provide Michael higher than John ever did.
Norton is a perfect character who sees his greatest success in life is that of his son.
It's the film's main issue that there's no tension over who John is actually going to pick and the potential candidate is much too evident. However, between meetings with potential parents, Pasolini avoids manipulation by creating small moments of interaction with fathers and childrenfor instance, the couple putting 34 candles on the cake of John's birthday is especially touching. Nowhere Special is a film that's alive to the difficult situations and emotions the bizarre circumstances create in John's refusal for him to read Michael When Dinosaurs Die, an illustrated book recommended by counsellors as well as the idea of creating a "memory container that is filled with mementos which give children an understanding of their parent who has passed away. John isn't keen and would like to see his child, who is likely to be able to recall the smallest details of his childhood at four, to begin again.
It's also a film that offers an uninformed poor, white tattooed person not just the ability to speak, but one that is sensitive. This makes the character of Norton an enthralling oneHe's far from becoming the next 007 in this film -however, it's an impressive feat as he plays an empathetic man who views his biggest success in life as that of his son, and goes all the way to protect the safety and happiness of the child. If you can avoid a confrontation with a window-cleaning customer (cue egg-throwing) It's a calmly performed performance that is greater for having it. He's joined by Lamont and is extremely adorable (but never overbearing) and as real as a young boy, completely unaware of the fact that his life will be drastically altered all the way.