The Family Fang [is] a sharply drawn portrait of a dysfunctional, tortured artistic family that speaks affectingly to the troubled legacy that all parents inevitably bequeath to their children. Following his raucous and foul-mouthed Bad Words, director-star Jason Bateman shows marked progress and deepening maturity as a filmmaker with this cleverly structured but never arch or mechanical adaptation of Kevin Wilson’s 2011 comic novel, with Bateman and Nicole Kidman nicely inhabiting one of the more tender and persuasive brother-sister relationships in recent movie memory.” — from Justin Chang‘s Toronto Film Festival review, posted 9.14.15.

“You think we damaged you? You have kids, you’re gonna damage them. That’s what parents do. So what?”

Chris Walken‘s line is obviously meant to zing and appall, but it’s not untrue. One way or another parents are going to get it wrong, screw up, fail to show enough love…you name it. When I was nine or ten I used to have furious debates with myself about who was worse, my dad or my mom. There was no doubt in my mind that they were abusers who lacked insight and kindness, and were beyond uncool. Guess what? I still think that, but having made mistakes of my own as a dad and having gradually come to appreciate my parents as people and personalities above and beyond their parental shortcomings, I forgave them a long time ago. Sooner or later every kid has to stand up and say, “Okay, that happened but here I am now, the captain of my own ship.”