• Film

“Our Son:” A Story about Overcoming Divisions for the Sake of the Greater Good

At the beginning of the film, the situation looks perfect. An affectionate and good-looking couple lives in a beautifully styled home and shares a quick kiss. But soon it’s obvious that their 13-year-old partnership is in trouble.

When Gabriel (Billy Porter) allows their son to sleep in the couple’s bed, Nicky (Luke Evans) is frustrated. Both parents have their own views on how to raise a child. Gabriel, a former actor and stay-at-home dad, is warm and empathetic towards the eight-year-old Owen (Christopher Woodley). Nicky, a career-oriented book publisher, is more practical and distant.

Despite appearances, Gabriel feels lonely and is dissatisfied with their marriage. He admits to Nicky he is having an affair and has real feelings towards his lover. He thinks the marriage is an unrepairable place and seeks a divorce. That doesn’t sit well with Nicky. A custody battle brings out their darker sides – sadness, pain, anger, frustration, revenge.

Director and co-screenwriter Bill Oliver’s Our Son premiered at Tribeca Film Festival with mixed reviews. Most found it as a warm story about heartbreak but for some, it was the same old story that most divorced couples go through.

In his director’s statement, Oliver describes his decision to make a movie.

“As a gay man with two sons whom I co-parent with a lesbian couple, I wanted to make a movie that reflects my experience and celebrates the experience of other queer parents. I also wanted to make a movie that entertains a universal audience who will empathize with its characters and recognize themselves in it.

“Even though Our Son depicts a divorce, it is at heart a love story about a family in transition. Nicky and Gabriel are being shaken out of their routines, which causes them to realize how unhappy they had been in their marriage.”

For a while, the protagonists forget the most important person in their lives, their son Owen who has a lot of empathy toward his dads. After navigating the difficult journey of a messy divorce, the grownups finally remember that they should prioritize their son’s wellbeing.

Finally, the journey transforms both of them, their love for each other and for their son.

“Making a film about two fathers allowed me to explore the different sides of parenting through the characters of Nicky and Gabriel,” continues Oliver in his notes. “Despite their flaws, both men care deeply for their son, Owen. I wanted to show that men can be nurturing, and queer people can be loving parents.

“Through the struggle of divorce, Nicky learns to accept intimacy and vulnerability. A divorce lawyer I interviewed described witnessing a gay divorcing couple embrace in front of the family court judge. He was struck by this loving gesture. Gay people don’t take loving for granted because for so long we weren’t allowed to be. Our Son is ultimately about a family learning how to love and overcome their divisions for the sake of a greater good,” Oliver ends his notes.

Our Son is also a story about how their families react and what happens in a friends’ circle when a couple is breaking up. The cast includes Phylicia Rashad, Robin Weigert, Andrew Rannells, and Kate Burton.