The Film Club: A Memoir

( 23 )

Overview

"I loved David Gilmour's sleek, potent little memoir, The Film Club. It's so, so wise in the ways of fathers and sons, of movies and movie-goers, of love and loss."
—- Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls

"If all sons had dads like David Gilmour, then Oedipus would be a forgotten legend and Father's Day would be a worldwide film festival."

—Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All

"David Gilmour is a very unlikely ...

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Overview

"I loved David Gilmour's sleek, potent little memoir, The Film Club. It's so, so wise in the ways of fathers and sons, of movies and movie-goers, of love and loss."
—- Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls

"If all sons had dads like David Gilmour, then Oedipus would be a forgotten legend and Father's Day would be a worldwide film festival."

—Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All

"David Gilmour is a very unlikely moral guidance counselor: he's broke, more or less unemployed and has two children by two different women. Yet when it looks as though his teenage son is about to go off the rails, he reaches out to him through the only subject he knows anything about: the movies. The result is an object lesson in how fathers should talk to their sons." —Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

At the start of this brilliantly unconventional family memoir, David Gilmour is an unemployed movie critic trying to convince his fifteen-year-old son Jesse to do his homework. When he realizes Jesse is beginning to view learning as a loathsome chore, he offers his son an unconventional deal: Jesse could drop out of school, not work, not pay rent - but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing.

Week by week, side by side, father and son watched everything from True Romance to Rosemary's Baby to Showgirls, and films by Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, Billy Wilder, among others. The movies got them talking about Jesse's life and his own romantic dramas, with mercurial girlfriends, heart-wrenching breakups, and the kind of obsessive yearning usually seen only in movies.

Through their film club, father and son discussed girls, music, work, drugs, money, love, and friendship - and their own lives changed in surprising ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Both for its smart, engagingmovie talk and for its touchingdepiction of a father-son relationship, The Film Club gets two thumbs way up."
Elizabeth Benedict
I was hooked on Gilmour's spare, limpid style, and on the tenderness, bitter sweetness, and the film education that I could feel unfolding from the first page . . . THE FILM CLUB is a deep pleasure to read, almost as much fun as - or maybe more than - going to the movies.
The Huffington Post
Peg Tyre
Tender
. . .
a beautiful, unvarnished portrait of fathers and sons-irregular, flawed, full of heartbreak and heart.
Newsweek
The Portland Oregonian
"Wise,
hilarious and sometimes screwy

. . .
an inspiring change of pace from the way fathers usually are depicted
. . . [Gilmour's]
advice to Jesse about his painful girlfriend problems is warm and wise, with just the right amount of adult bluntness. THE
FILM CLUB is a highly lovable book.
"
Elizabeth Benedict - The Huffington Post
"I
was hooked on Gilmour's spare, limpid style, and on the tenderness, bitter sweetness, and the film education that I could feel unfolding from the first page . . .
THE
FILM CLUB is a deep pleasure to read, almost as much fun as - or maybe more than - going to the movies."
Peg Tyre - Newsweek
"Tender
. . .
a beautiful, unvarnished portrait of fathers and sons-irregular, flawed, full of heartbreak and heart."
From the Publisher
Tender
. . .
a beautiful, unvarnished portrait of fathers and sons-irregular, flawed, full of heartbreak and heart.Peg Tyre, Newsweek

"Dynamic
. . .heartwarming
.
. . With

ironic wit
and
self-introspection,
[Gilmour]

beautifully analyzes the slow but transforming effect the films had on his son
.
. .

Perfectly balanced recollections, brimming with pathos leavened by sardonic humor
.Kirkus Reviews

"I
was hooked on Gilmour's spare, limpid style, and on the tenderness, bitter sweetness, and the film education that I could feel unfolding from the first page . . .
THE
FILM CLUB is a deep pleasure to read, almost as much fun as - or maybe more than - going to the movies.
Elizabeth Benedict, The Huffington Post

"Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents,
watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Wise,
hilarious and sometimes screwy

. . .
an inspiring change of pace from the way fathers usually are depicted
. . . [Gilmour's]
advice to Jesse about his painful girlfriend problems is warm and wise, with just the right amount of adult bluntness. THE
FILM CLUB is a highly lovable book.
The Portland Oregonian

Both for its smart, engagingmovie talk and for its touchingdepiction of a father-son relationship, The Film Club gets two thumbs way up."Booklist

Publishers Weekly

In this poignant and witty memoir, Canadian novelist Gilmour (A Perfect Night to Go to China) grapples with his decision to allow his teenage son, Jesse, to leave school in the 10th grade provided he promises to watch three movies a week with his father. Determined not to force a formal education on his son, former film critic and television host Gilmour begins the film club with Truffaut's The 400 Blows-with Basic Instinctfor "dessert." There are no lectures preceding the films, no quizzes on content or form: just a father and son watching movies together. Expertly tracing the trials and tribulations of teenage crushes and heartbreak, Gilmour explores not only his choice of films but also Jesse's struggles with his girlfriends and burgeoning music career. There are "units" on everything from undiscovered talent (Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning debut in Roman Holiday) to stillness, exemplified by Gary Cooper's ability in High Noonto steal a scene without moving a muscle. Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents, watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

When Canadian novelist and film critic Gilmour (A Perfect Night To Go to China) runs out of ways to help his son Jesse remain in high school, he offers him the option to drop out, as long as Jesse promises they will watch three movies each week together. Over three years, Gilmour focuses on educating his son but not in the traditional sense (there are no lesson plans). The films the two watch together play a minor role in this memoir-Gilmour shares his informative opinions on a variety of movies, which are indexed at the back of the book-as Gilmour imparts his own views on women, fine wine, and life issues. Accompanying his wisdom on life and love is a father's seasoned understanding and support for his teenager's crippling romantic distresses. As Gilmour finds himself semiemployed during this endeavor, his attention is solely focused on his troubled child-an opportunity few teens receive. In the end, Jesse decides to continue with schooling, going on to college. Gilmour's memoir would fit nicely into public libraries with strong memoir or film theory collections.
—L.P. Smith Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
Moviegoing brings a father and son closer together in this dynamic memoir by Canadian novelist Gilmour (Sparrow Nights, 2001, etc.). While teenaged Jesse was wilting under pressure at his rigorous high school, the author was feeling every bump on the road to middle age. Having lost a lucrative gig as a TV film critic, Gilmour was professionally adrift, meandering toward bankruptcy and, as a divorced dad, convinced that his inept parenting had brought Jesse to his current predicament. When the boy announced that he was dropping drop out of high school, the author surprised himself by going along with the idea-provided that Jesse agreed to watch at least three films of Gilmour's choosing at home with him every week. The rationale, he explains, is that by having his son sit through films of every conceivable style and genre-'40s noir, European new wave, action pictures, old comedies-he would provide at least some of the education Jesse was missing in a formal classroom setting and perhaps even some preparation for the adult world ahead. This risky, quirky home schooling and bonding scheme superbly binds together Gilmour's heartwarming memoir. With ironic wit and self-introspection, he beautifully analyzes the slow but transforming effect the films had on his son. At first Jesse assumed that leaving school would be tantamount to a permanent vacation. Instead, he transitioned from being a confused teen to a grown-up, all the while experiencing the agony and defeat of first romance, working as a dishwasher and finding his true calling as a musician. Gilmour writes an especially poignant scene in which he sneaks out late one night to visit the club where Jesse's struggling band has a gig.Perfectly balanced recollections, brimming with pathos leavened by sardonic humor. Agent: Sam Hiyate/The Rights Factory
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446199308
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 624,395
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Gilmour's sixth novel, A Perfect Night to Go to China, won the 2005 Governor-General's Award for fiction in Canada and has been translated into Russian, French, Thai, Italian, Dutch, Bulgarian, Serbian and Turkish. China and a previous book, Lost Between Houses, were both nominated for Ontario's Trillium Book Award. His novels have been praised by visionaries from William Burroughs to Northrop Frye, and in publications ranging from People magazine to the New York Times Book Review. Gilmour worked for the Toronto International Film Festival before moving into a broadcasting career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) where he served as the national film critic for country's flagship news show, The Journal. He went on to host his own talk show on CBC's Newsworld, Gilmour on the Arts, which won a Gemini Award. Gilmour's 5,000-word memoir of reading Tolstoy ("My Life with Tolstoy") appeared in last summer's issue of The Walrus magazine (the Harper's of Canada) to huge response and acclaim.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2008

    The Gift from Father to Son and Back

    Life with kids involves a lot of give and take, all in an effort to keep them on a path that will lead them to adulthood intact. What a wonderful gift Mr. Gilmore has given us by taking on his own journey with his son Jesse, through the travails of leaving school, girlfriend angst, rock and roll success and of course, three movies a week with Dad in return. It a touching treatise on parenthood in the real world where nothing is really planned and things happen because that's the way life is. Hard. Unpredictable. And through the movies, we find some lessons, some grounding and something valuable to share. Read this book. You won't be disappointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    parenting outside the box

    The lengths that Mr. Gilmore went to in order to save his son was truly amazing. He knew his decision to allow his son to drop out of school would be unpopular, but ultimately it strenthened the bond between father and son, and taught the boy invaluable life lessons. Though they had a few hiccups along the road, this father showed how devoted he is to his only son. The best way to read this book is to watch movies from the filmography as you are going along. A truly remarkable book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Film Club

    If you're a film fan that I suggest you read this book. The book is about a father who allows his son to drop out of high school as long as he watches three movies a week. As a huge film I could appreciate what the father said about the films he chose to show his son Jesse. What I liked the most was that he chose films to base around what was going on in their lives at those moments. Yes it's a memoir about the three years they watched movies together, but it was also so much more. You get to see the beginning of a great father/son relationship and a young teenager turning into a man.

    If you decide to read this movie I do have to forewarn you that there are moments in which the endings of the films they discuss are revealed. They put a listing of all the films they watched at the back of the book, so you can always check the back and see if there are films you absolutely don't want to know the endings too.

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Drinking Memoir

    While he is a gifted writer and very knowledgeable film critic, the depictions of accepted teenage drinking and drug use were a bit odd. It's nice to watch revealing movies, perhaps "Leaving Las Vegas" or "28 Days" might be good as well...
    Alcohol is a drug. 10-15 MILLION alcoholics can vouch for that. I'm not one, but have known a few...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    David Gilmour's book, The Film Club, is an original, thought -provoking story of the relationship between a father and his teenage son.

    Mr. Gilmour drew me in with his frank,easy way of writing. I enjoyed the love-hate relationship the father and son had with each other. You could see the delicate balance played out in one scene after another. The story had an interesting twist at the endthat had me shocked and delighted at the same time. It was a good read.

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