Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The catharsis here is all the more moving because of what wasn't finished, what remained unsaid and what in the answer to the title's question proves unknowable.
New York Times:
When Did You Last See Your Father?” is grown-up, civilized fare, even though the whole thing might have been improved with a bit of messiness.
Wall Street Journal:
When Did You Last See Your Father? is an eloquent and affecting evocation of a man who remains bigger than life even as he approaches death.
Strong performances carry this familiar but always intelligent British rites-of-passage story about a philandering doctor and his much-mocked son.
Nicely balances moments of childhood trauma with a full appreciation of the man whose enthusiasm for high spirits sometimes came at considerable cost to those around him.
Los Angeles Times:
One would only hope that a film about death and dying wouldn't have to feel quite so lifeless.
J. R. Jones,
This father-son drama never rises above the archetypal: its conflict will be familiar to all, its resolution a surprise to none.
A haunting and heartfelt drama that may startle some viewers with sporadic shocks of recognition.
When Did You Last See Your Father? taps into the conflicting feelings so many of us can have about parents who haunt us because they're difficult, which is part of what makes them irreplaceable.
Globe and Mail:
The source is Blake Morrison's memoir of the same title, an impressionistic account that the filmmakers -- director Anand Tucker with screenwriter David Nichols -- have cast impeccably and, without losing the nuance, shaped into a strong narrative arc.
Even bedridden, Broadbent walks away with the film; his son's never outshone him and Firth can't do much besides sulk.
Like most British realist dramas, When Did You Last See Your Father? is stuffed with team-player acting.
Director Tucker's virtuosity is in marrying Blake's memories to the present and finding they are one.
New York Daily News:
It's a lovely attempt to capture how the loss of a parent can create in grown children waves of remorse and fear, pride and blame.
New York Observer:
I have never really seen anything quite like it, and I must therefore wholeheartedly recommend this wondrous work for its magnificently moving father-son performances by Mr. Broadbent and Mr. Firth.
It's easy to make a movie about fathers and sons. It's much harder to make one that resonates with emotional honesty.
This is a film of regret, and judging by what we see of the characters, it deserves to be.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
It can be painful to watch as it so painstakingly captures the slow process of loss. But it's worth every last teardrop.
The winning aspect of this adaptation of a best-selling autobiography is in the director's management of the points of view.
It's certainly a moving film, and many will find its close examination of a father-son relationship particularly cathartic and reflective.
The New Republic:
What ensures our pleasure is the dialogue, which is supple, and the quality of the acting.
The film is not only poignant, but nuanced, never offering pat answers, predictable revelations or easy sentimentality.
An unashamed tearjerker that's all wrapping and no center.
The movie is slick and treacly and goes nowhere that hasn't been gone before.