Watch Chapter Zero
- 1 hr 44 min
Chapter Zero is a 1999 drama-comedy film that revolves around a failed writer called Harry, played by Dylan Walsh. Harry is struggling to come to terms with his mediocre career and his stagnant personal life. In a desperate attempt to salvage his life, Harry decides to write a book about his own life, setting out on a journey of self-discovery.
The film kicks off with Harry's bleak life. Harry is getting divorced, his career is in a downward spiral, and his relationship with his son is strained. This is where the viewer sees the first hint of Harry's desperation to find meaning in his life. Despite his despair, Harry is convinced that he has a story that he must tell, and sets out to write a memoir.
As Harry embarks on his writing journey, he is forced to confront the people and events that shaped his life. This involves revisiting the past that he has been trying so hard to forget. His journey takes him to his hometown where he reconnects with his estranged father, played by veteran actor Charles Durning. The father and son relationship is strained, to say the least, and Harry is forced to confront his past transgressions that have caused the rift between them.
Through his writing, Harry also reconnects with his ex-wife, played by Martha Solorzano, and they try to rebuild their relationship. Harry's openness about his past transgressions, his shortcomings and the failures in his life leads to a newfound intimacy between them and this becomes a unifying bond that they both require.
As the book progresses, Harry realizes that his journey is not only about exploring his own life but also about finding a way to resolve the issues in his present life. He understands that the memoir he is writing may not necessarily make him the author and instead of avoiding his inadequacies or making excuses for his failures, he has to examine his own life, in order to learn from his mistakes.
The film is a combination of comedy and drama, portraying Harry's life with equal measures of humor and bleakness. Harry's character continually develops throughout the film, with the viewer observing a shift from a man who is angry and resentful about his life, to a man who is understanding, concerned and open to change.
The film's cast features notable performances from Rus Blackwell and Charles Durning, who both deliver strong portrayals of complex characters. The performances also draw the audience into these characters, revealing the cracks that exist in successful and well-put-together people.
Chapter Zero's screenplay was written by Aaron Mendelsohn, and the movie is directed by Aaron's twin brother, Aaron Mendelsohn, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The Mendelsohn brothers take a very thoughtful and introspective look at Harry's life, and the result is a very personal and relatable story.
Ultimately, Chapter Zero is a poignant, emotional, funny drama about family, love, and redemption. The film expertly explores the theme of self-discovery in the face of personal crises and betrayal, showing its protagonists' courage in facing their mistakes to move forward in a meaningful way. The movie leaves the viewer with a sense of hope that it's not too late to make a change, learn from your mistakes, and work towards a better life.