SXSW 2018 Review: “You Can Choose Your Family”

SXSW 2018 Review: You Can Choose Your Family

Philip (Logan Miller) doesn’t have the best relationship with his father, Frank (Jim Gaffigan), but things are about to become much weirder. While on an unapproved spring break trip, Philip comes across his father, who is supposed to be traveling to Japan for work. As he watches the situation unfold, he realizes that his father has two families, his and another secret one in the small lake town. This news turns his whole world upside down, and we are not quite sure where it is going to land. As he navigates these new waters, he inserts himself into the family dynamic of Frank’s other family.

You Can Choose Your Family is a totally absorbing film. Jim Gaffigan and Logan Miller have incredible chemistry together and give spectacularly heartfelt and honest performances. After just having seen Logan Miller in Love, Simon and now in this, I can certainly say he is going places. While the supporting cast gives excellent performances as well, the spotlight shone brightest on the relationship between Philip and Frank. Each moment they spend together on screen is remarkably authentic and intense while also managing to bring a great deal of humor to the story. They have some touching moments where their bond seems to have grown. These moments are balanced by very realistic and tense arguments that are difficult to recreate with such honesty.

The messages in You Can Choose Your Family are those that are relatable, and the screenwriter conveys that in such a genuine way. Between the relationships established between father and son, and the bonds that are tested in the film, we get messages to remind us of our own families and our own shortcomings. While the average person can look like they have it all together or that a family looks perfect is far from the truth. This reminds us that everyone has their faults and that no one is perfect.

I would argue that the film’s runtime is slightly over-bloated and could stand a 10-15 minute trim, but otherwise, the film is a joy and reminds us of the imperfections we see in others and the ways that family bonds are formed. You Can Choose Your Family overflows with heart and humor with two fantastic lead actors. Logan Miller is the next big young actor shepherded in by veteran funny-man, Jim Gaffigan.

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

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