Film Review: The Bachelors

Kurt Voelker’s The Bachelors is a drama which feels authentic. Good performances and a well-crafted narrative make for decent viewing.

After the death of his beloved wife, Bill and his teenage son Wes move across the country for a new start. Bill has a new teaching job in a private school, but grapples with his grief as he attempts to start afresh…

Written and directed by Kurt Voelker, The Bachelors is a drama about grief. There are aspects of comedy and romance, yet drama is the dominant force. Despite the subject matter, the film is not maudlin. The portrayal of a grieving father and son feels authentic. The fact that the focus is on male characters makes for a welcome change.

The story follows Bill, a year on the death of his wife of over thirty years. His attempt to deal with his grief has led him to relocate with his son. In Voelker’s film, grief isn’t something that is cured by fresh start or a burgeoning romance. Instead, viewers are given a more realistic portrayal. There are ups and downs for him, as well as difficulty in letting go, despite long-term therapy.

The other strand of the film focuses on Wes as he starts a new school. His main narrative focuses on his romantic interest in Lacy. Whilst Wes is sufficiently developed character, Lacy’s issues feel like shorthand. The most striking scenes with Wes tend to be with his father. The relationship between Bill and Carine fares better, although dialogue is not always  as good as the performances. J.K. Simmons delivers a very convincing and at times moving performance as Bill. Josh Wiggins is good as Wes, even if the chemistry with Odeya Rush’s Lacy does not hit the mark. Julie Delpy is also good, although she is not given a great deal to do.

The Bachelors works well thanks to J.K. Simmons’ strong performance and Voelker’s tempered exploration of the subject.

The Bachelors is available on DVD from Monday 28th May 2018.

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