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Boston Globe, June 8 Review By Ty Burr “The author, like many of us,” he writes, “is wise in the ways of pop culture yet clueless about the people in his own house. Rosemary’s Baby he can address with depth and ease; less so the adolescent boy ‘sitting head down on the other side of the kitchen table’ . . . The drama of THE FILM CLUB – and a sizable chunk of its comedy – is that of a father and son carving out mutual space between boomer complacency and teenage certainty . . . There’s pleasure in watching Gilmour, chatty and knowing, connect [movies] to the business at hand. For someone like me, who has daughters and has written of turning them on to the movies I love, reading THE FILM CLUB felt like visiting a foreign country where the signposts are the same but the destinations are unexpectedly different. For many dads, too, this book may be one of those mirrors that reflect more than they’d like.” (Boston Globe)
Canadian film critic, TV personality and novelist David Gilmour found himself unemployed in his 50s, with an alienated 17-year-old son who was flunking out of school. Gilmour's solution was to invent a radical variety of home schooling. Jesse could drop out and live with him rent-free, on one condition: They had to watch three movies a week, of Gilmour's choosing, and talk about them. No homework, no writing assignments. One of the products of this experiment is Gilmour's marvelous new book THE FILM CLUB, a funny, edgy and self-deprecating memoir that's unlike any parenting book you've ever read. (It has plenty of sharp little insights into movies too.) What happens to Jesse? That'd be cheating. Let's just say he goes into the world having seen ‘The 400 Blows,’ ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘Showgirls’ – that’s got to count for something. ―Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com (Salon.com)
When David Gilmour's 15-year-old son, Jesse, starting failing the 10th grade, the Canadian film critic/ novelist let him drop out of school. Gilmour didn't home-school him, dispatch him to boarding school, or decide there was something terribly wrong with him. Instead, Gilmour ― himself struggling professionally ― required Jesse to watch three movies a week with him and to not use drugs. (His ex-wife approved.) This pleasant, wise memoir describes the films they watched, ranging from Akira Kurosawa's Ran to Basic Instinct, and the chats about life, love and booze they triggered. By the end, the son finds his way. And the father is glad they shared this time. ― Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY (U.S.A Today)
The book is meaningful, is insightful, is valuable. On a social level alone, it challenges our notions of education, of productivity, of high schools that have fallen catastrophically behind in their capability to inspire young men. It is, what's more, a compelling, often tender account of a parent's deep concern for his child . . . He is, at his best, an assiduous and poetic phrase-maker, an excellent storyteller and a keen observer of physical and emotional nuance. Charles Wilkins, The Globe and Mail (Globe and Mail)
In this poignant and witty memoir, Canadian novelist Gilmour (A Perfect Night to Go to China) grapples with his decision to allow his teenage son, Jesse, to leave school in the 10th grade provided he promises to watch three movies a week with his father. Determined not to force a formal education on his son, former film critic and television host Gilmour begins the film club with Truffaut's The 400 Blows―with Basic Instinct for “dessert.” There are no lectures preceding the films, no quizzes on content or form: just a father and son watching movies together. Expertly tracing the trials and tribulations of teenage crushes and heartbreak, Gilmour explores not only his choice of films but also Jesse's struggles with his girlfriends and burgeoning music career. There are “units” on everything from undiscovered talent (Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning debut in Roman Holiday) to stillness, exemplified by Gary Cooper's ability in High Noon to steal a scene without moving a muscle. Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents, watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans. (May)(Publisher's Weekly)
David Gilmour is a novelist who has earned critical praise from literary figures as diverse as William Burroughs and Northrop Frye, and from publications as different as the New York Times and People magazine. The author of six novels, he also hosted the award-winning Gilmour on the Arts. In 2005, his novel A Perfect Night to Go to China won the Governor General's Award for Fiction. He lives in Toronto with his wife.