Friday, April 02, 2010

The Film Club by David Gilmour

I stumbled across David Gilmour's fascinating memoir about a week ago on the library shelves, and despite the enormous pile of books I have at home, I had to read this one. It's the story of an unusual arrangement between a father and son, a thought-provoking book.

At sixteen, David Gilmour's son, Jesse, was failing at school. He hadn't done well his freshman year in high school, but his sophomore year was a disaster. Jesse was leaving school, disappearing during the day, getting in trouble. And, one night, while helping his son with his homework, Gilmour realized how much his son hated school, and how useless he saw it. So, he made his son an unorthodox offer. Jesse could drop out of school, but there would be two rules. There would be no drugs. And, Jesse would have to watch three movies a week with his father, films of his father's choice. When Jesse pounced on the idea, his father told him he knew it was the only education his son would get.

Over the next three years, Gilmour and his son watched, and discussed films as wide-ranging as The Bicycle Thief to Clint Eastwood movies, such as Absolute Power and A Fistful of Dollars. They analyzed films such as Casablanca, and even The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. As an out-of-work film critic, Gilmour was the perfect person to lead his son through these movies. As they watched films, they also found themselves discussing girls, romance, Jesse's love of music. Gilmour, his wife, and his ex-wife, Jesse's mother, worked well together to offer Jesse a chance to discover himself.

As much as any of us may look on appalled at some of Gilmour's decisions and Jesse's actions, it's also easy to see the growth in both men, the growth in their relationship, and the love they share for each other. Gilmour was an unusual father, giving his son this much independence, but The Film Club shows the success of that experiment. The list of films Jesse and David viewed ends the book, and it's a welcome addition to the memoir. The Film Club is an interesting view of an unusual education in film, and in life.

The Film Club by David Gilmour. Grand Central Publishing, ©2008. ISBN 9780446199292 (hardcover), 256p.

13 comments:

Deadly Letters GTA said...

I had heard of this book before - but had forgotten about it.

It's a great idea (even if on the surface it seems counterproductive & counterintuitive).

I bet the son learned a LOT!

I definitely need to read this - am curious to see the list of films Dad chose.

Lesa said...

Deadly Letters,

I was sometimes a little surprised by Gilmour's decisions, but in the long run, it worked out. Very interesting book!

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like an unconventional, yet fascinating, story.

Missy B. said...

I think it's wonderful what he did for his son....this coming from someone who truly hated school, and would have loved some one on one time with my parents. I need to read this one.
Happy Easter!

Lesa said...

Hi Kathy,

It was an unconventional life, with some interesting choices made.

Lesa said...

You would probably really appreciate this book, Missy, since you didn't like school either. I'd love to know what you think if you read it. Happy Easter to you, too! Thank you.

Tribute Books said...

Interesting book,thanks for the review.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Tribute Books.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Wow, this sounds different! I haven't read a memoir in a while..thanks for the tip, Lesa!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Smitha said...

Thanks a lot Lesa..It was a very nice review..I will surely pick up this...

Jamuna said...

A little tardy this comment but had to write! Not much long ago I read a brilliant introduction to Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" authored by David Gilmour. It is some piece of frank, unrestrained writing that says out loud how "plastered" and in love one is with something...David Gilmour does that beautifully! Not only does he make me want to read War and Peace, he also makes me want to read him more :)http://www.clivejames.com/dgilmour

Lesa said...

Thank you, Smitha. I found the book very interesting.

Lesa said...

Jamuna,

I appreciate the fact that you took time to write about Gilmour's review. It's never too late to comment. Thank you.