Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by Craig Silliphant0
Nothing will accelerate a mid-life crisis faster than your wife cheating on you, and in Bruce McDonald’s new film, The Husband, protagonist Henry Andreas gets shafted with a capital S. Not only is his wife unfaithful, but she ends up in jail for sexually interfering with a 14-year old minor, leaving him to take care of their baby boy. Henry is rocketing at warp speed into his mid-life crisis — he hates his job, he hates himself, he’s a dick to his best friend, and he’s making some pretty bad decisions that don’t help his position in life. He could easily be given a ‘World’s Worst Dad’ mug as he disappears on the kid to get drunk and attempts to get revenge on his wife by trying to get his babysitter drunk.
Henry is played by Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, who also co-wrote the script, and he’s one huge reason why this movie is so successful. He inhabits the character on a deeper level than most actors can reach, and actually makes us sympathize with him, even when he’s dragging himself around Toronto with the stink of loser all over him, so filled with taking rage that you can almost see a boiling red sea behind his eyes. It’s a very Toronto-centric movie, and the city feels as dark and lonely as Henry does. Shout out to Honest Ed’s, a Toronto landmark that makes an appearance.
Director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, Pontypool) has rendered a film that will be hard for some to watch, because it’s so unflinching and honest. And yet, it’s still darkly funny, avoiding the total grimness that would just make it an exercise in unrelenting pathos and full frontal male insecurity. The movie reels a bit too far into vignette territory, losing some cohesion along the way, with a watered-down conclusion. That shouldn’t deter you from giving it a watch though — it’s a sarcastic, funny, truthful filmmaking experience — a good film that you live through, rather than watching. Thankfully, unlike Henry, you can walk away from his life when the movie is done.