After decades in front of the screen, beloved actor Viggo Mortensen is making his directorial debut with the family drama Falling, screening now on the festival circuit. Mortensen directs and stars in the film as a gay man attempting to help his gruff, dementing father adjust to the final phase of his life. According to the official synopsis:
John (Viggo Mortensen) lives with his partner, Eric (Terry Chen), and their daughter, Mónica (Gabby Velis), in California, far from the traditional rural life he left behind years ago. John’s father, Willis (Lance Henriksen), a headstrong man from a bygone era, lives alone on the isolated farm where John grew up. Willis is in the early stages of dementia, making running the farm on his own increasingly difficult, so John brings him to stay at his California home so that he and his sister Sarah (Linney) might help him find a place near them to relocate to. Unfortunately, their best intentions ultimately run up against Willis’s adamant refusal to change his way of life in the slightest.
Mortensen, Henriksen and Linney—that’s a pretty strong dramatic trifecta right there, with Henriksen in particular receiving a lot of early praise for his performance as the intolerant father. Supporting players include Terry Chen, Sverrir Gudnason, Hannah Gross and Bracken Burns. Falling had its world premiere at Sundance 2020, and has also been playing at Cannes, TIFF and others. It certainly looks like it’s designed to be a tear jerker, and perhaps to launch a new directorial career for Mortensen, a versatile actor who nevertheless remains best known for the role of Aragorn throughout The Lord of the Rings.
Falling premieres in the U.K on Dec. 4, and is apparently still looking for U.S. distribution—understandably more difficult during the pandemic. Check out the full trailer for Mortensen’s directorial debut below.