The Judge is a heartwarming but slightly long winded drama about a man reconnecting with his estranged family after twenty years. It deals with so many issues; death, divorce and even dementia. Hank’s (Robert Downey Jr) estranged father Joseph (Robert Duvall) is the town’s judge, but chemotherapy is taking its toll on his mental health and, in the wake of his wife’s death, he kills a man he has always hated but can’t seem to remember doing it. Despite a rocky relationship with his father Frank is determined to fight his corner in the courtroom and maybe even finally win his dads love and respect.
A slow paced pretty little film, it is obvious why The Judge received so many nods for awards when it was released. It has a bit of everything in it and there is no doubt a little something for everyone, and if nothing else it has Robert Downey Jr in and that has to count for something!
The Judge reminded me a little bit of 2013 drama with Meryl Streep; August Osage County. It was a very similar viewing experience. I so desperately wanted to love it but came away bored and disappointed. Both films deal with complicated families with issues greater than a lot of people can comprehend; I mean these issues are Jeremy Kyle-worthy! But they are so packed full of little stories all intertwining that it becomes long winded and overly complex. The Judge does fare slightly better, but both films are similarly miserable and slow.
I wanted more sarcastic humour from Robert Downey Jr‘s character, because it’s his dark, dry humour that makes his films so enjoyable. I wanted the film to be a little bit brighter and happier, not to the point of being cheesy but just slightly less dull and miserable. Don’t get me wrong I can see completely why The Judge did so well critically upon its release, it is a beautiful film with some outstanding performances, Robert Duvall in particular does a fantastic job. It has a nice cinematic style and a strong and very moving story, but it’s one of those films that’s just a bit of an emotional drain and it is one that you definitely have to be in the right mood for, which I definitely was not!