"An Incestuous Story"
Directed by Sam Mendes
Written by Alan Ball and Carl Ellsworth
Produced by Sam Mendes, Dean Zanuck and Bobby Cohen
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Cinematography by Tom Stern
Costumes by Deborah Hopper
Editing by John Gilroy
Music by James Newton Howard
Sean Penn as Charlie Olson
Logan Lerman as Ryan Olson
Viola Davis as Dr. Melestine Gardner
Bonnie Hunt as Anna Burke
Tagline: "His father was the only love he had left. His son was the perfect cure for him. Their relationship was most disturbing story ever told..."
Synopsis: Ryan Olson was sitting on the sidewalk on the other side of the street with the cops. Wrapped up in a heavy blanket with his head face down, he hears his angry and abusive father Charlie yelling and cursing at the police while being taken to the police station. After he’d been taken to the station, the remaining police officers try to talk with Ryan, but he just sits their in silence with his head face down. Not knowing what to do with him, the police pulls him up from the sidewalk, puts him into their car, and takes him to the station. At the station, the police escorts him pass his father, who was sitting in a cell cursing at the cops, and into a small office. They sat him on the couch, and they leave him there.
Moments later, a stern woman walks into the office and introduces herself as Dr. Melestine Gardner. She was the station’s psychiatrist, and her job was to try to talk with Ryan. First, she questions him of why he was living in such an abusive household. He holds his head up, looks at her and says nothing. Irritated by his stare and silence, she asks him again loudly and he told her that if she asks him calmly he would speak. She does so, and he tells her that he was abused and raped by his father. He begins to cry, and Melestine comforts him and asked him to tell her how this all happened. He nodded, and Melestine sat down in her chair as he prepared himself to tell her how it all started…
Four months ago, Ryan mother’s was killed in a car accident. He and his father Charlie were leaving the funeral that their neighbor and close friend Anna Burke had arranged for them since they didn't have the money to pay it off and went home. Charlie was so lonely and lost without his wife that he’d started drinking to make him feel better, but it only made life in the household worse. He began to act violently around the house and towards his son, who would occasionally beat him. One night, however, was a night Ryan will never forget. His father, who was severely drunk, came into his room and crawled into his son’s bed. He begins to brush his fingers through his hair and caress his body. He told Ryan that he reminds him of his mother, and that he was just as pretty as her. Stunned and scared, Ryan refuses to resist his father because he knew that his father would beat him if he did. Charlie grabbed Ryan’s face and kisses him. That night, Charlie Olson made love to his own son.
Over the next four months it had been the same thing every single week. Charlie would get drunk from drinking, beat his son, and continue to make love to him on nights when he wants it. But one day, Ryan said to himself that this had to end. While his father was at the bar one night, he packed a few of his belongings and some food and headed towards the bus station to leave his father for good. On the way, Ryan passes through the bar and Charlie steps out and sees him. He begins to walk towards Ryan, who drops his suitcase and begins to run back down the road to Miss Burke's home. Charlie catches him and caries him back to theie house. Miss Burke, who was watching TV at the time, looked out her window and saw Charlie forcing Ryan into the house. She leaves her house to see if everything was all right, but once she peered through the window she sees Charlie violently beating his son. Anna calls the police on her cell phone as she watched Charlie constantly beat him. Moments later, the police came and arrested Charlie and covered Ryan in a heavy blanket...
Melestine sat stunned in her chair without saying a word. Ryan looks at her, and gets off the couch and heads toward the cell where his father was being kept. Melestine follows him, and when the cops tried to stop him from seeing his father she told them to let him pass. They do so, and Ryan stands face to face with his father one last time. He looks at him, and then Charlie tells him to come here, but Ryan doesn’t and instead walks out. This was the last time Ryan would see his father ever again, and he became forever free from his abusive father.
What the Press would say:
“An Incestuous Story” is this month’s most talked about bait directed by Academy Award®-winner Sam Mendes. His latest film on one of the most controversial topics in today’s society is a triumph, and will keep everyone talking all the way to the end of the year. It tells the story of how a young man deals with the abuse and intercourse from his abusive father after his mother was killed in a car accident, and he tells it to a police station’s psychiatrist. The film is mostly in flashback, but it flows through perfectly thanks to the outstanding editing of John Gilroy, the haunting score by Academy Award®-nominee James Newton Howard and powerful and well-written script by the strong duo of writers Alan Ball, an Academy Award®-winning screenwriter, and thriller writer Carl Ellsworth.
Sean Penn, an Academy Award®-winner, gives an explosive yet subtle performance as Charlie Olson, a once loving father who turns to alcohol, abuse, and sex to help him get through the lost of his wife. Penn brings this character to life with great deal, and his performance has put him on nearly every critic’s choice for best actor of the month! Not only is he the only one appearing on the list, but so is his co-star Logan Lerman. Lerman equally gives an outstanding performance as Ryan, the smart and quiet son of Charlie. Lerman creates this character with great sympathy as he brings the pain and suffering of young Ryan to life. Both of the actors deliver great scenes together, and will definitely be a force to conquer in the Best Actor category during this month’s Oscar season. Also incredible in this film is Tony Award-winning actress Viola Davis. Davis plays Dr. Melestine Gardner, the police station’s psychiatrist. Davis is tough in this film, but through her character’s tough skin lies a deep and passionate woman who was able to reach through Ryan. Even though she only appears in the beginning and last bits of the film she still delivers the performance of a lifetime, and she’ll be the supporting actress contender to beat. Finally, there’s the magnificent Bonnie Hunt. Hunt plays the neighbor and close friend of the family Anna Burke. Her character isn’t in the film that long, but she plays the role quite well. She saves Ryan from his cruel and evil father, and Hunt gives a performance unlike her past performances in a total screen time of nearly 6 minutes, but she made the best of those little minutes by becoming a standout at the end. Overall, the cast is outstanding, and they deserve a lot of recognition come April.
“An Incestuous Story” is a story filled with authentic and uncompromising moments that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat. The story is flawless and mesmerizing, and there’s not one single boring moment in this film at all. It’s dark, disturbing, clever, genuine, and very controversial, and it’s definitely one of this year’s best motion pictures. With its talented actors, amazing director,clever writers, and a great crew this is a film not to be missed come April.
For Your Consideration
Best Director – Sam Mendes
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Sean Penn
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Logan Lerman
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Viola Davis
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Bonnie Hunt
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score