Just Like the Son
Photos and Video
This reductive road movie about a petty thief and a boy trapped in the social service system logs many poignant moments without cloying sentiment. A series of bad deeds lands Daniel (Mark Webber) community service at an elementary school in New York City, where he bonds with Boone, a cheeky lad whose spirit belies his family situation. When Boone disappears from school one day, Daniel feels a surge of responsibility for the first time in his 20 years. "I want to do something good," he tells his father, who has seen more than enough of his son's swollen rap sheet. Daniel explores his legal options before snatching Boone from an upstate foster home. The two embark on a pilgrimage to Dallas, where Boone's only sister lives. Director Morgan J. Freeman (Hurricane Streets) allows small adventures to nudge along the pair's relationship, while avoiding pat character arcs. But Daniel is no angel, and the challenges of evading police and paying for gas kick his survivalist mentality into high gear. Although Daniel may be saving a would-be orphan from falling through the system's cracks, he is also breaking the law, and Just Like the Son is not afraid to question the moral validity of his actions. In choosing the names Daniel and Boone, Freeman evokes the new frontiers that lie ahead for both characters. Like all quest movies, Just Like the Son's consequence is in the journey, not the destination.
Director's Statement Collapse
I've always been interested in films that explore moral dilemmas. My first film, Hurricane Streets, dealt with honesty and asked the hard question, "When is it more honest to lie?" For me, a character posed with this question is a character worth writing.
Just Like The Son explores the moral question of when is it more innocent to be guilty. The film's protagonist, Daniel, attempts to help a six-year-old boy find a better life by rescuing him from an orphanage. In his heart, Daniel believes he is doing the right thing, even if the authorities don't agree. It is only by breaking the law that something good awakens inside Daniel.
Film Information Collapse
[JUSTL] | 2006 | 86 | Narrative Feature
Foreign Title: (Just Like the Son)
About the Director(s)Collapse
Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Morgan J. Freeman received a B.A. in Film Studies from UC-Santa Barbara in 1992. His coverage of the L.A. riots won first place in the National Columbia Scholastic Press Awards and third place in the California Intercollegiate Press Awards. In 1993, Freeman attended NYU's Graduate Film Program, where he earned his MFA. His debut feature, Hurricane Streets, was the first to win the Audience Award, Best Director, and Best Cinematography at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. In 2002, Freeman directed American Psycho 2, starring That 70s Show's Mila Kunis and William Shatner. He has also directed an episode of Dawson's Creek, MTV's Laguna Beach, two music videos--one of which charted #3 on MTV2 in 2000, and several TV commercials. In 2005, he completed Killer. Just Like The Son is his fourth feature.