“The Film Club” by David Gilmour

The Film Club is a memoir of Canadian novelist (NOT Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist) David Gilmour, who lets his 15yo son Jesse drop out of school if he agrees to watch three movies a week together. So begins a wild adventure in parenting. Gilmour starts with Truffaut’s New Wave classic, The 400 Blows. But as almost every review of the book crows, he follows it up with “dessert”, the eminently watchable, if made by sleazy people, Basic Instinct.

I picked the movies arbitrarily, in no particular order; for the most part they had to be good, classics when possible, but engaging, had to pull him out of his own thoughts with a strong storyline. There was no point, not at this juncture anyway, in showing him stuff like Fellini’s 8 1/2. (1963).

It’s this unconventional, anti-film-snob approach to movies that probably helped their film club to work for the next few years. Gilmour never forgot, or stopped trying to impart to his son, that films were created as entertainment. So while Jesse got a full run of classics, like Citizen Kane and Chinatown, he also watched horror films like Rosemary’s Baby and guilty pleasures like La Femme Nikita.

More than a movie memoir, it’s one of parenting, as Gilmour coaxes Jesse through some typically disastrous adolescent romances. Gilmour won’t be nominated for parent of the year anytime, but he’s got the critical basics down: empathy, honesty, and the ability to apologize. As a parent I often wonder if I taught my kids my own foibles, or if they go through them because its in their genes, so the best I can do is help them through it, as Gilmour does with humor and self-effacement in this winning book.

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