Alt cinema for big kids: The Finishers

Julian is a 17-year-old boy born with cerebral palsy and living with his family in the mountains of France. Over the years his father, an under-employed former triathlete, has become woefully distant and disconnected from his son. Inspired by media coverage of a father-son team in the US, Julian hatches a plan to sign up (and convince his dad) to compete in the Ironman France competition together.

The title gives a pretty big clue to the unfolding of the plot but don't let the seemingly formulaic story turn you away. Is it sentimental? Yes it is. And inspiring. The cinematography is stunning and the movie has so much heart; it's a Rocky-esque plot enlivened with the themes of independence, dependence, connection, and the dynamics of father-son and mother-son relationships. We all loved it. (And I couldn't help but think of the real-life Hoyt father-son marathon team back in our hometown Boston; in fact I'm certain it's their photo that flashes on the screen when Julian is researching this idea.) This film has had limited release so far but keep your eyes open for it and catch it if/when you can. In the meantime, here's a little taste:

  • Here's a Variety review of The Finishers
  • And the Sydney Morning Herald review
  • Received 86% on Rotten Tomatoes 
  • Rated: PG in Australia
  • Recommended for families with older kids and teens. Mild language and little swearing.
  • You should know: French dialogue, subtitled in English. The concluding scenes of the movie were filmed during the Ironman France competition in Nice.