‘Longing’ Movie Review: Richard Gere Struggles in a Story of Fatherhood Discovery

In an unexpected move, director and writer Savi Gabizon brings his Israeli drama “Longing” to Canada in this English-language remake. However, the tale of a businessman, played by Richard Gere, who finds out he fathered a son 19 years ago falls flat and misses the mark. Gere’s portrayal of the unlikable protagonist comes across as more creepy than moving as he tries to connect with his newfound son. Despite a limited theatrical run, the film will be available for digital and on-demand viewing starting June 28.

The story follows Daniel, a busy businessman in New York, who is shocked to hear from his ex-girlfriend Rachel that he has a son named Allen who recently passed away in a car accident. Despite never wanting children, Daniel travels to Ontario for Allen’s memorial service, planning to stay briefly. As he delves into Allen’s life through encounters with his friends and loved ones, Daniel becomes increasingly obsessed with learning more about his son.

While the cinematography remains consistent, the film takes on a dreamlike quality as Daniel navigates through conflicting information and his own grief. However, the dream sequences featuring Daniel and Allen feel awkward and fail to resonate with the audience. Daniel’s fixation on Allen’s positive attributes while ignoring the negative aspects leads to a series of events that feel contrived and unconvincing.

It’s puzzling why Gabizon didn’t make adjustments to make the protagonist more relatable or update the story for modern audiences. Gere’s performance lacks depth, and the supporting characters who are wronged by Daniel’s actions come across as more sympathetic. The film’s visuals and score also fail to leave a lasting impact, detracting from the overall viewing experience.