Hugh Jackman’s Most Emotional Performance Is A Streaming Hit On Netflix

Hugh Jackman stars in The Son, a heavy family drama now streaming on Netflix.

By Jessica Goudreault | Published

Hugh Jackman in The Son

Hugh Jackman has starred in all sorts of emotional films, but one of his best performances to date has been in The Son. The PG-13 drama that came out last year is now streaming on Netflix and is ranked #4 on the charts. The tear-jerking movie is not for the faint of heart and is best watched with a box of tissues nearby.

The Son centers around Hugh Jackman’s character, Peter Miller, who is married to his second wife, Beth. The couple is raising their young son when Peter’s first wife, Kate, shows up at his door with Nicholas, who is the 17-year-old son from their previous marriage. Peter has been largely absent from Nicholas’s life, much like his own father was absent from his young life (when he wasn’t around to inflict trauma on him).

Kate explains to Peter that their son has been very depressed and acting strange, even causing her to be afraid at times. Peter decides to take Nicholas in to try and support his son during his difficult teenage years, assuming he will bounce back. However, things turn out to be much harder than he anticipated, and he needs to cope with the ultimate decision his son makes.

The impressive cast of The Son includes Hugh Jackman as Peter Miller, Oscar-winner Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) as Kate, his ex-wife, and Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) as Beth, Peter’s new wife. Fellow Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins also makes a brief appearance as Peter’s abusive father—the role was written specifically for him by the writer/director Florian Zeller.

The actor who plays Nicholas, Peter’s son, is the young Zen McGrath. The Son marks his largest role in a full-length movie after he was cast in a variety of short films dating back to 2014.

hugh jackman
Hugh Jackman in The Son

The film was adapted from the play (of the same name), which was also written by Florian Zeller. The writer/director has written many plays that center around family, including The Son, The Father, and The Mother. So far, The Son and The Father are the only two films that he has directed, with the latter film starring Anthony Hopkins, who went on to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

In September 2022, The Son made its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film then had a limited release in the United States, where it was only available in New York City and Los Angeles theaters before it became available across the nation in early 2023. It wasn’t until March 2023 that the film was released in France, which is the native country of writer/director Florian Zeller.

Critics have praised Hugh Jackman for his emotional performance throughout The Son, even nominating him for Best Lead Actor at the AACTA International Awards and Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globe Awards and Satellite Awards. However, Hugh Jackman lost out to Austin Butler for his performance in Elvis and to Brendan Fraser for his performance in The Whale. Hugh Jackman is probably not terribly disappointed since he has won plenty of awards throughout his career, including a Primetime Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and even a Slammy Award from the WWE.

While Hugh Jackman is undoubtedly a great actor, his raw emotions in the film may have been inspired by his real-life father passing away while the film was in production. The actor shared that he continued working on The Son through his father’s loss because his dad had never missed a day of work in his life, so he didn’t want to either. He seemingly poured his grief into the film, which in itself grapples with the loss of family and how one can heal from tragedy.

Hugh Jackman will now get a break from giving an emotionally taxing and heart-wrenching performance as he works with Ryan Reynolds on Deadpool 3. The two actors have been going back and forth for years, swapping hilarious social media posts and clever nods to one another. Now, they’re finally going to give audiences what they have been asking for as they collaborate as Wolverine/Logan and Deadpool in the action-comedy film that will hit theaters on November 8, 2024.