Jeff Mitchell is a man in his twenties who is living with his widowed father Harry. The pair have a truly fantastic relationship and Harry is very accepting that his son is gay and looking to find the right man to spend his life with.
The Sum of Us is based on a stage play of the same name and the aside which would have been in the play are in the film, so we get both Jeff and Harry talking to the screen at times. Breaking that third wall between everything, but considering what happens towards the end I actually felt this was a very good idea.
Harry is very accepting of his son Jeff being a gay man, maybe even a little bit too accepting. Especially when Jeff heads on a night out to meet Greg, a man he feels he likes a lot. On returning home though it isn’t too long before Harry makes Greg feel extremely uncomfortable, although he just means to be friendly. Although we quickly realise that Greg is just jealous of Harry’s attitude and acceptance and it all felt too normal for him. Which leaves Jeff extremely disappointed and certainly a different turn to what we expect.
Harry without telling Jeff had signed up to a dating service and meets Joyce and he gets pretty serious about her rather quickly, even proposing before telling him about her. Although she declines and they decided to see how things go over the next three months, what she does though was truly unforgivable as she freaks out when finding out Jeff is gay. Without even meeting or knowing him at all, lucky for her though that Harry never actually got to tell Jeff due to having a very bad stroke. I seriously did not see this coming at all and it totally floored me. Jeff now having to care for his father and do everything for him, not being happy with his current state. I was in tears at the end as he feels like he is holding his son back but a chance meeting with Greg and things begin to look up for Jeff.
I am actually very pleased about the whole Russell Croweathon as quite frankly I would never have come across this film. You know when you end up obsessed with a particular actor and go through all possible streaming services finding films they were in. I am so pleased that this happened as The Sum of Us is a truly heartwarming and then heartbreaking story all wrapped together. I was left crying at the end I cannot deny it, probably more because I really was not expecting that brutal twist moment.
The performances from both Jack Thompson and Russell Crowe are a true joy to watch. Feeling believable as the father and son duo, who have plenty of arguments with each other but also so much love. I thought that was such a great message to send, even more so when you remember this film was released in 1994.
It tackles some of the issues around perceptions of someone being gay and does it in a good manner in all honesty. Sometimes I am a little bit nervous that older films like this could just be offensive but I thought this found a great balance of being positive but allowing some of the negative to still be shown to highlight the issues that were faced.