First came The Father and now comes The Son in Oscar winner Florian Zeller's diptych of complicated familial dramas. The former was an immersive portrayal of a father going through dementia; the latter centers on a man whose life is upended by the arrival of his estranged son.
In The Son, Hugh Jackman plays Peter, whose ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern) turns up unexpectedly with their 17-year-old son, Nicholas (newcomer Zen McGrath). "You can't just show up here with no warning," he tells Kate in the movie's teaser trailer. "What's wrong? Did something happen?" To which she replies, "Yes."
The film untangles the complex dynamics between Peter and Nicholas, which is only further complicated by Peter and Kate's bitter divorce and Peter's life with his new wife, Emma (Vanessa Kirby), and their newborn baby. "If I'm like this," Nicholas tells his father, "it's your fault."
"What have I done? What's my fault? Haven't I always done everything for you?" Jackman's Peter shouts in response during a particularly emotional moment in the trailer. "I have the right to reinvent my life — it is my life!"
A playwright-turned-filmmaker, Zeller originally wrote The Son for the stage, part of a trilogy that began with The Mother in 2010 and includes 2012's The Father. Zeller's film adaptation of The Father earned six Oscar nominations and won two: Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins (who reunites with the director for The Son) and Best Adapted Screenplay for Zeller and co-writer Christopher Hampton. (Hampton returns as co-writer here.)
Jackman, meanwhile, is an Oscar nominee for Best Actor for 2012's Les Misérables, while Kirby earned a Best Actress nomination in 2021 for Pieces of a Woman. Dern is a three-time nominee who won her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2020 with Marriage Story.