• Sun. May 19th, 2024

‘Nowhere Special’ Review: A Triumph of Sensitivity and Good Taste

‘Nowhere Special’ Review: A Triumph of Sensitivity and Good Taste


In one of the best performances I’ve seen this year, James Norton is strong but sensitive, especially in the scene where he tries to explain to the child how to feel and behave after Daddy is no longer around. The intimacy of his rapport with little Daniel Lamont is a revelation. Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

From Northern Ireland, Nowhere Special is the poorly titled but beautifully made and deeply touching film about John, a 34-year-old window washer and devoted single father of a three-year-old son, Michael, and his arduous journey to find a loving new family for the child after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. The results of his painful but dedicated responsibility for leaving his beautiful boy with the perfect foster parents are heartbreaking, but the film—produced, written and directed by Uberto Pasolini—is a triumph of sensitivity, humanity and good taste that manages to admirably transcend every tendency inherent to the usual label of “tearjerker.”  


NOWHERE SPECIAL ★★★(3.5/4 stars)
Directed by: Uberto Pasolini
Written by: Uberto Pasolini
Starring: James Norton, Daniel Lamont
Running time: 95 mins.


The thick Irish brogues make hearing the dialogue an occasional strain, but the two British co-stars—acclaimed actor James Norton and pint-sized newcomer Daniel Lamont—are so human and real that you eagerly follow everything they do and say anyway. This is a quiet, thoughtful film with direction that takes its time revealing character honestly and clocking motivations realistically—with a welcome absence of sobbing histrionics.

Norton’s riveting performance as John succeeds in rationalizing his character’s decisions soberly and facing his circumstances bravely, but his heart is heavy and he doesn’t consider himself blameless. He annoys the adoption agents by taking so much valuable time to find potential perfection in Michael’s next family that you get to love him while you get to know him, flaws and all. There’s nothing careless or wasteful about Pasolini’s screenplay. Even the scenes without action or dialogue contribute to the admirable character development. This is the biggest decision of John’s life, and he’s tortured and frustrated by the inability and impatience of others to understand. He makes every effort to guarantee the survival of his son will be somewhere special, so I don’t understand why this film is titled Nowhere Special. Never mind. In one of the best performances I’ve seen this year, James Norton is strong but sensitive, especially in the scene where he tries to explain to the child how to feel and behave after Daddy is no longer around. The intimacy of his rapport with little Daniel Lamont is a revelation. For a film about loneliness and death, it’s tender, intelligent and life-affirming without ever being maudlin and mawkish. A rare and distinguished film indeed.

‘Nowhere Special’ Is a Thoughtful Tearjerker Without the Sobbing Histrionics





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