My Son Hunter Is a Total Waste of Hunter Biden’s Wild Story
Breitbart’s movie about Hunter Biden, My Son Hunter, is neither entertaining, informative, competently made, nor politically persuasive. How do you screw this one up?
Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s second son, has lived a life worthy of a soap opera, filled with tragedy, pathos, and melodrama.
Hunter’s mother and sister died in a car crash two months before his third birthday. Hunter, who was in the car, experienced severe injuries and later identified the crash as the original trauma that gave rise to his various addictions. Hunter’s brother Beau, Joe’s heir apparent, passed away at age forty-six from brain cancer. Soon thereafter, Hunter split from his wife and began an affair with Beau’s widow. In 2019 Hunter was hit with a paternity lawsuit, which resulted in a judge ordering him to pay child support to the mother. As the lawsuit unfolded, Hunter’s wife Melissa gave birth to their first child — and Hunter’s fifth. This summer, it was reported that Hunter and Melissa’s marriage is on the rocks due to pressure from a federal investigation into him.
The drama of his personal life aside, Hunter has long been a beneficiary of the patronage networks that support our nation’s top failsons. His career trajectory is proof that some people are just too connected to fail, no matter how hard they try.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Hunter has variously been a senior vice president for the MBNA Corporation; a founder of the lobbying firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair; vice chairman of Amtrak’s board of directors; a founder of the consulting firm Seneca Global Advisors; a founder of the business development firm Rosemont Seneca Partners; a founder of the consulting firm Eudora Global; and a founder of the private investment fund BHR Partners.
And all of the above doesn’t even begin to cover the recent controversies that have surrounded Hunter, which are simply too byzantine to describe in detail. Suffice to say that they involve an abandoned laptop, hackers, lurid photos of sex and drug use, claims of Russian disinformation, social media censorship, and much more besides.
Put another way, it’d be hard to make Hunter’s life boring. But somehow, someway, the makers of Breitbart’s My Son Hunter have managed to do just that. Less a narrative feature film than a cross between an incomprehensible tone poem and a self-help tape about the dangers of porn addiction, My Son Hunter is one of the most tedious, dull, and pointless movies I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing.
It’s hard to even describe the movie’s plot. My Son Hunter stars Laurence Fox as our titular hero and Emma Gojkovic — who actually conveys a pleasant screen presence, though one imagines any potential career in Hollywood has been nipped in the bud by her appearance in this movie — as Grace Anderson, a Black Lives Matter protester cum stripper to whom Hunter takes a shine one dreadful night at the Chateau Marmont.
The movie borrows devices from more famous and competent talents, especially the fourth-wall-breaking explanation scenes that have become the signature of left-wing director Adam McKay. But though My Son Hunter has several scenes devoted to telling the audience what is happening, I could barely tell what was going on. Even worse, I didn’t care. Basically, Hunter is sad, mad, and depressed, and Grace eventually turns on him, his father, and the Democratic Party. That’s about it.
Much has been made of MMA-fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano’s appearance in My Son Hunter, given that she was recently fired from Disney’s The Mandalorian for declaring on Instagram that “hating someone for their political views” — the implication being right-wing views — is similar to the Holocaust. But Carano, who plays Joe Biden’s bodyguard, is a nonentity in the movie. The president sniffs her hair, and she occasionally breaks the fourth wall. She doesn’t do much else.
As the bit about Joe Biden’s hair sniffing suggests, My Son Hunter is not especially cutting in its satire. The movie, strangely, refuses to make a meal out of the president’s increasingly obvious senescence. Instead, it rather bizarrely presents Biden as a brilliant Machiavellian, albeit one prone to malapropisms. (Perhaps director Robert Davi was unwilling to highlight Biden’s age due to the fact that Breitbart favorite Donald Trump is himself seventy-six years old.)
Beyond the boring plot and strange character decisions, My Son Hunter is an exercise in cinematic incompetence. At one point Hunter is talking on an iPhone, but it’s obvious that he’s actually on the phone’s lock screen. At another, the lighting is so bad that it appears Gojkovic’s character doesn’t have a nose. And, of course, the movie’s makers abide by that old saw “Tell, don’t show.” There is almost as much exposition in My Son Hunter as there is in Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995), but unlike Casino, this movie sucks, especially because the dialogue sounds like someone reading from a sloppily written conservative blog post.
What separates My Son Hunter from masterpieces of incompetence like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003) is that it has no joie de vivre. One imagines that if Breitbart’s titular founder Andrew — who, whatever else you might rightly say about him, lived life to the fullest — were alive today, he’d ream out Davi for producing such a monotonous failure. The movie does not entertain, does not inform, and does not serve any purpose, not even a propagandistic one. No one who made it could possibly have believed that My Son Hunter would convince anyone of anything. It’s more insubstantial than waterlogged cotton candy. I just saw it, and I can barely remember it.
My Son Hunter is a missed opportunity. The story of Hunter Biden is actually compelling and, if told correctly, could highlight genuine problems in American life, from corruption to addiction. Hunter deserved better. We all deserved better.