3 Days with Dad tells the story of Eddie Mills (Larry Clarke), a middle-aged man who must go home to deal with his dying Dad. However, after returning to his crazy family, Eddie finds himself slipping back into old patterns as he reconnects with old friends. Then, as he is confronted with the revelation that he himself is a father, Eddie is forced to deal with the past he has always tried to avoid.
Written, starring and directed by Clarke, 3 Days with Dad is an honest and earnest look at dealing with losing a parent. Based on his own family experiences during the passing of his mother and father, Clarke’s characters feel authentic, balancing humour and grief (sometimes simultaneously). Featuring veteran actors such as Brian Dennehy, Lesley Ann Warren, Tom Arnold and JK Simmons, the cast is experienced and has solid chemistry with one another. However, it’s Clarke’s role as Eddie that holds the film together. Though most often featured as a character actor throughout his career, Clarke’s humility brings an everyman quality to Eddie that is both endearing and funny.
Of course, 3 Days highlights the challenges of negotiating family relationships in the midst of trauma. While they work through their own grief, Eddie and his siblings must also navigate their own personal issues with one another as they plan their father’s funeral. Issues such as individual faith, life decisions and their own interpersonal issues bubble to the surface as the four Mills children attempt to move on in the middle of their pain.
At its heart, however, 3 Days with Dad also paints itself as [almost] a coming-of-age story. Brought together with his siblings due to the death of his father, Eddie finds himself at a crossroads within his own life as well. Having come home for the funeral, Eddie is also struggling to find purpose in his own life. Though Eddie has happily taken a job as a doorman at “a 5-star hotel”, Bob still barks at his son to take a civil service job or something else ‘reliable’. As often happens in parent-child relationships, Eddie is reminded that his life has somehow missed their proverbial mark of success. Having always been the child in his parent’s house, his return home has placed him firmly into the role of an adult within his family, causing him to re-examine his relationships and life goals. When he discovers that he’s a father, this role becomes even more important, as he must decide whether or not he wants to take on the role.
In the end, 3 Days with Dad’s greatest value stems from its honesty and heart. There’s an awkward humour that stems from Clarke’s life experiences that help create relatable characters in the middle of heightened circumstances.
To hear full audio of our interview with director Larry Clarke, click here.
3 Days with Dad is in theatres now.