This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Sarah Collins’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Justin Henry is such a gem, he and Dustin Hoffman together on screen are brill, one of my favourite father-son relationships I've seen.
I'm not entirely sure how to deal with Joanna's character, because as much as I love Meryl Streep and admire her performance, I wish she was seen as less of a villain. We never really saw her and Ted's marriage disintegrating, and we were never given the option to fully see her perspective, only the "I needed to find myself" explanation the film so often revisited. I definitely found myself sympathising more with her towards the end, but it just frustrates me how easy it was to hate on her in the first place. She was clearly very unwell and needed to do something about it - yes, abandoning your husband and 6-year old is probably not the right way to go about it and yes, we do find out why (albeit relatively subtly), but surely depression shouldn't be dismissed in such a way? Surely if she had some sort of physical illness it would be treated very differently??
All the same, it's not the point of the film, and in that respect the development of Billy and Ted's relationship is spot on. The way that they go through their hurt together is hard hitting and feels very real. I think the love that both Ted and Joanna have for their son bears more weight than which of them is more 'right' in their situation, it proves more often than not that there is no such thing as a purely 'good' or 'evil' character, especially concerning the mess that is custodial law.
Both Joanna and Ted are flawed and have their reasons for their supposedly irrational actions, I just hope that anyone watching this can see past how negatively Joanna is portrayed, because it is such a great watch.
Side note, the french toast scenes were my favourite, and any scene where Ted and Billy are just hanging out, it feels cosy and heart-warming and great <3