The Sum of Us (1994)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Gay & Lesbian Films  |   Release Date - Jul 12, 1994 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - Australia   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Laura Abraham

Films that explore the familial relationship are common in Hollywood. These movies tend to be formulaic in nature and many times lack the imagination or depth to be anything more than caricatures of a family. In the 1995 Australian film The Sum of Us, nothing is formulaic. The story centers on a father-son duo, of which the son is gay. The Sum of Us is a refreshing, if not over-the-top example of what a family without prejudice looks like. This is a motion picture that has a joke every few moments; however, it never seems affected or unreal. Although many relationships between fathers and their gay sons do not resemble the one in this movie, the easy connection between the actors brings a genuine tangibility to the screen. Russell Crowe (of the more testosterone-influenced film Gladiator) shows great depth here portraying not just a gay man but a man whose outward appearance really hides a shy, sensitive soul. Jack Thompson as Jack's father, Harry Mitchell, is such a funny, refreshing actor that one can not help but love Harry even as he takes the role of loyal dad to unnerving levels. The Sum of Us is a delightful look at relationships as well as a refreshing look at the power of films. When a filmmaker steers off the path Hollywood wholeheartedly embraces, sometimes you end up with a gem of a film. The Sum of Us is this type of film, showing what art can be when an artist embraces feelings over formula, as directors Geoff Burton and Kevin Dowling did here.