Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Goodbye to All That" puts a hapless husband through separation, divorce and single fatherhood -- and tries to be a comedy


For the second day in a row, I have a film that shreds the straight world.  “Goodbye to All That” (2014, directed Angus MacLachlan) is an indirect satire of the whole world of heterosexual marriage, divorce, and custody issues, and the “burden” it places on men, even in the conservative South.
Otto Wall (Paul Schneider) is a well-meaning husband and father to daughter Edie (Audrey Scott), but has an accident, and serious surgery for a leg fracture.  At one point, the surgeon even warns of possible amputation.  But as he is coming out of all of this (pun), a therapist, hired by wife Annie (Melanie Lynskey) tells him that “it’s over”, and that his wife wants a separation and later divorce, and that he must move out.  It’s not clear why.  It seems that she is interested in someone else, and that he isn’t sexually attractive enough to her anymore.  The actor playing is only 38, but looks a bit older, with legs going bald already.  It’s all rather like a juvenile fantasy.  Women don’t usually ponder these things.

So Otto has to negotiate the world of one-night stands, with women who sound reluctant and eventually push him away.  And there is the issue of, effectively, single fatherhood.  Toward the end of the film, Annie wants to take even visitation away because Edie said he had sex toys in his apartment.

Nevertheless, the idea that Otto gets "rejected" because he is no longer "hot" enough has disturbing implications.  I visited this area earlier in my own life. 
  
What a trap.  Is this an argument for married men’s rights?

  
The official site is here  (IFC films). 
  
The music score offers excerpt from four Haydn piano concertos.  Why Haydn, not Mozart?  Haydn’s concertos sound even more “classical” and comical, playful, less emotionally engaging. 
  
The outdoor scenes were shot in the North Carolina Piedmont (in autumn) and Blue Ridge. I think there was a shot of Roan Mountain (link).
   
I rented the film on Amazon Instant Play. 

Picture: Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, my visit, July 2013 

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