TIFF2022 reviews ‘Prisoner’s Daughter’

Director Catherine Hardwicke (twilight) returns for the Toronto International Film Festival with her latest Prisoner’s Daughter.  The film stars Brian Cox (HBO’s Succession) as Max, a former criminal who is told by the warden of the prison that is in his terminally ill, and can live his final days under house arrest. It’s been over a decade since he’s seen his daughter Maxine (Kate Beckinsale) a single mother, raising her epileptic son Ezra (Christopher Convery). Max uses this opportunity to try and rebuild their relationship, which he regrets not being there for her in the first place.

Maxine is not particularly happy to hear from him, especially because she feels she’s been left to deal with the multiple jobs, paying a mortgage, and even dealing with her abusive ex Tyler (Tyson Ritter) who is a failed musician that refuses to get clean from drugs. With that, she doesn’t understand why her son looks up to his father so much, and because she needs to provide for the family she agrees to take Max in as long as he pays for rent and his own expenses, but also not reveal his relationship to Ezra. She wants a fresh start and doesn’t want to bring up any of the past. Max and Ezra start to bond, and Max being a former boxer, starts teaching Ezra boxing lessons from an old friend (Ernie Hudson) and we see a some family bonding aspect.

The whole film feels very lacklustre and nothing particularly special about it. There definitely could have been more exploration into character depth, and not much focus to any of the strong performances given by the cast. Cox steals the spotlight for this one, as we see some great character development within Max, but not much from anyone else. It definitely starts out pretty slow, and by the end of it, there’s nothing too memorable here. It was still decently enjoyable, but I wouldn’t see it again.

Watch a clip from Prisoner’s Daughter below

Prisoner’s Daughter was released on Sep 13, 2022 during the Toronto International Film Festival