Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. Like most of Sokurov's movies, this oblique parable is mysterious, elliptical, irresistible.
  2. 80
    Less a story than a situation, the film contends with a difficult transitional period in the lives of its title characters, who face the growing necessity of getting some distance from each other.
  3. Like a dream within a dream. Its images and emotions are vivid, disquieting and also hermetic, and while it may frustrate your desire for clear storytelling and psychological transparency, it has an intensity that surpasses understanding.
  4. 80
    If the setting is claustrophobic, it's also bracingly beautiful, a contradiction that is every bit in keeping with Sokurov's preference for ambiguity over clarity.
  5. 75
    By the time the final shot arrives -- a rooftop panorama in the falling snow -- we don't know much about any of the people we've just encountered. But we have been treated to a feast for the eyes.
  6. 75
    Where a lesser movie from a lesser director might sink into its own ponderousness, Sokurov uses the ambiguity of the father and son's relationship to craft a sort of erotic puzzle.
  7. Reviewed by: Walter Chaw
    For Sokurov, the relationship between a father and a son surpasses physical, even human intimacy -- it’s something approaching the sacred.
  8. 70
    Borders on the risible but, because Sokurov is Sokurov, this exalted, wacky scenario--which uses Lisbon as an imaginary Russian seaport--is amazingly staged, inventively edited, and rich in audio layering, with camera placements that sometimes verge on the Brakhagian.
  9. Nothing much happens by way of plot in the course of Father and Son, but it offers a fresh and often startling vision of one of the most fundamental relationships between human beings.
  10. The result can be--sometimes is--tedium; but, whether or not the work succeeds as Sokurov intended, it is an adventurous director's probe of cinema possibilities.
  11. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Sokurov's use of space, religious symbolism and raw emotion compensate for any sense of exclusion.
  12. The film should please his (Sokurov's) fans even while proving a frustrating, tedious experience for most art house audiences.
  13. Sokurov's new companion piece (to "Mother and Son"), has the tedium without the trance.
  14. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Irritatingly devoid of irony, the film has an unintentional but unmistakable homoerotic subtext.
  15. Here was my question for most of this movie: Wha-? I was clueless. Did not understand. Count me among the stupid.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. MoT
    Mar 13, 2014
    The film Father & Son was clearly homoerotic as I undertstand it. Mr. Sokurov reportedly has bristled at the term being used about his movie, but I believe from what I've read, that it's because he regards homoeroticism as something low and non-spiritual. From what I have seen by artists whose works also have been so classified, it is related to an art form which is trying to depict the beauty of love shared often in a physical and sensual way by members of the same gender without (necessarily) being sexual. No, I don't believe Mr. Sokurov wanted to imply any incest or paederasty going on, but given our modern era, the taboos (some stemming from homophobia) regarding physical or emotional expression of intimacy, especially between males, and the legitimate concerns Western society has today about paedophilia and child abuse, I am surprised that HE is surprised about the associations. Sadly, such intimacy is disquieting to many for these reasons. Look even at how other characters stare curiously at the father and son. Are they wondering: what's going on between Aleksei and his dad? But that aside, art is able to capture the moments in life real or imagined, as shared by close friends of the same gender, father and son, brothers, cousins, and the like, where deeply heartfelt love is shown in a tactile way, expressed physically between them: boys and men play-fighting with each other, letting off steam by roughhousing and other horseplay that men and boys do, and so on. When an artist depicts these events, they are very sensual and homoerotic, but they are also very spiritual. In any event, regardless of how one wants to classify it, Father and Son is a lovely and thought provoking film-- mythic in its dreamy beauty and profundity, even as it leaves a number of mysteries about the main characters' lives unanswered. However, one really needn't "label" it as anything to enjoy its warmth. Full Review »
  2. JimR.
    Jul 12, 2006
    Once seen, I could not get this film out of my mind. So moving, I took a day off of work in order to see it again before its much-too-short run ended. A New York Times reviewer described it best: "[I]t has an intensity that surpasses understanding." The cinematography is gorgeous, the story is deeply moving, the characters are much more human than most Americans care to admit. Immediately shooting to the top of my list, I had to e-mail and thank Aleksandr Sokurov personally for his wonderful film... and happily received a reply. Full Review »
  3. KryshaA.
    Sep 18, 2005
    The coldness of this culture causes to perceive the warmth of this relationship (in flax nonetheless) between father and a son as homoerothic - nothing further from the truth. We all long for such intimacy and to have it with a parent and then to fly away is an ultimate nurtuing experience. Rarely we will get it here in US Maybe after exctasy... Full Review »