Wonderfully cast with some super strong performances, The Bachelors handles the topic of grief with such a profound degree of conceivability that renders Kurt Voekers’ film worth a watch, only of course if you are able for an emotional hour and thirty-nine minutes. A simple tale supported by such a cast as J.K. Simmons and Julie Delpy, I anticipated great acting but certainly not quite at this level.
Bill (J.K. Simmons) and his son Wes (Josh Wiggins) struggle to deal with the grief and the void that wife and mother, Jeanie Pallet, has left them with. The pair move to Los Angeles, where Bill gets a job at the school that Wes is attending, which yes, seems a little cliché, but which works with the intricacies of the relationships later to follow. Julie Delpy perfectly plays Carine, a French teacher with a sentimental side, keen for the improvement of her students, and Odeya Rush, plays Lacy Westman, a troubled teen living in a badly broken home where her parent’s relationship is so far from domestic bliss we witness a scene where she and her sister, Anabelle, are crying, clutching at each other for comfort.
The very first scene sets the sombre tone of the film as we see Bill shuffle into Wes’ bedroom to inform him that he can’t stay there anymore. The grade and atmosphere for the film is desaturated adding to the emotionally-heavy synopsis, and performances. This may put you off but don’t let it. Simmons and Wiggins performances conceivable portray grief as we know it and if The Bachelors does one thing, well it is certainly no advert for anti-depressants or shock therapy. As we witness Bill attempt to push through the grief by attending therapy with his psychiatrist, played by Harold Perrineau, we see him make some poor decisions and bad choices that affect his health and happiness further.
However, after a confrontational scene with his son, this is turned around, and the two continue to develop friendships, bonding with Lacy Westman and Carine, which allow them to continue through life less sombre, managing the grief that is clearly still present. But this is a nice film, as it hints at hope in troubled and emotional times, and more than hints at avoiding the drugs and shock-therapy. It also touches on self-harm with Lacy Westman’s character but also handles this well, as we see Wes, as her French-homework partner become concerned about her well-being.
It’s an honest, simple film that will put Odeya Rush and Josh Wiggins as actors on the radar, with some stunning performances.