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OurSon_LukeEvansBillyPorter_FamilyWalk02_fix-1.jpg

Tribeca Review: In 'Our Son', Luke Evans and Billy Porter Play Husbands on the Verge of Divorce

By Sara Clements | Film | June 19, 2023 |

By Sara Clements | Film | June 19, 2023 |


OurSon_LukeEvansBillyPorter_FamilyWalk02_fix-1.jpg

In Bill Oliver’s Our Son, Luke Evans and Billy Porter bring to life the story of a marriage at its collapse, as they portray a couple that must figure out how to stay a family for their son during the strain of divorce. We’ve seen many couples get to this unrepairable place in film before, but rarely, if ever, have they followed gay men who also happen to be parents. It’s fantastic to see representation in this space, a celebration of queer parents and couples, no matter how heartbreaking some plot elements are.

Nicky (Evans) and Gabriel (Porter) have been together for thirteen years. You can tell from the film’s very first scene that there’s still love between the couple, but they’re not at the same place in their relationship anymore and their marriage is deteriorating. Nicky, as a book publisher, is very work focused, while Gabriel is focused on their son, Owen (Christopher Woodley). Gabriel is the parent that’s always there, the one who sacrificed his career as an aspiring artist to be a stay-at-home parent. Nicky is the parent who’s always late to the talent show. He’s too absent to notice the pain that Gabriel has been feeling. He’s not happy in the marriage and doesn’t feel they are truly partners.

Their relationship gets worse and worse as the film goes on. From awkward arguments at dinner with friends or more explosive ones around Owen, Gabriel finally decides that he’s had enough. Nicky promises to be a better, more present parent, but it seems to be too late, as Gabriel has a divorce attorney on speed dial. It gets to a point where love isn’t good enough anymore, and Gabriel makes the tough decision to put his happiness and their son’s happiness above all else. It gets messy, quickly. Divorce can bring out the worst in couples, especially when a child is involved, and it’s an unbearable fight that sees Gabriel and Nicky say incredibly hurtful things they don’t mean and do things they regret, and you wonder if they’ll ever make peace.

Our Son is anchored by two incredibly powerful and heartbreaking performances by Evans and Porter. You feel every single emotion almost palpably as Gabriel, through pain and anxiety, finally confesses to Nicky his unhappiness and loneliness, and as Nicky meets his husband with anger and hurt. You may root for one over the other, but the actors manage to make you feel distressed about the situation, especially how it affects their son. As Owen, Woodley captures every child’s anger and confusion in that situation perfectly, manifesting in moodiness and moments where he acts out.

Our Son can make the audience feel as though they are drowning in all the emotions presented, but while it’s honest and sorrowful, it’s never a depressing slog. It has many light-hearted moments of humour and many tender and beautiful ones in between. Nicky’s arc develops in a very touching, fulfilling way as he learns what a father really means and how the calming, found family forces in his life guide him to making the right decision for Owen.

It would have been beneficial to see more of Nicky and Gabriel’s relationship through the years; to experience the highest highs and not just the lowest lows. However, in the end, it proves itself an impactful piece.

Our Son had its world premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. General release TBA.