Synopsis by Nathan Southern
In My Father's Den (2005), a universally acclaimed New Zealand feature, swept over 15 international honors and virtually owned the 2005 New Zealand Film Awards. This intelligently crafted, penetrating drama travels in the footsteps of such masterpieces as The Myth of Fingerprints, In the Bedroom, and The Son's Room by detailing an indigenous, scarred family's attempt to heal from age-old wounds. The haunting story begins with war journalist Paul (Matthew MacFadyen), who returns to his childhood home to bury his father. Although few words are spoken, the pain and resentment of past traumas continue to sear and burn in Paul's mind, and become rapidly evident via Paul's struggles to interact normally with his brother (Colin Moy) and eerily laconic sister-in-law (the celebrated Miranda Otto). Upon moving into a local cottage, Paul feels somewhat validated and encouraged when he inadvertently (and innocently) befriends a teenager, Celia (Emily Barclay), an intelligent girl with a love of books who starts to borrow volumes from Paul's personal library; they share a distaste for the community and its people, and a difficulty with social adjustment. But when Celia goes missing, and all fingers in the narrow-minded, gossip-ridden small town point in Paul's direction, the bough starts to break for the young man. In an effort to clear the accusations, Paul starts an informal investigation, from which the unspoken secrets of his family's past and the mystery of Celia's absence will ultimately dovetail into a tragic discovery.
brother, family, reporter, sister-in-law