Preview: 'Being Flynn'

Lacking the usual Hollywood pizzazz and flourish, Being Flynn will trick you into enjoying having your heart ripped out. The film, an adaptation of Scituate-native Nick Flynn’s 2004 memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, premiered last night at Kendall Square Cinema to a sold-out crowd to benefit the Elders Living at Home Program (ELAHP).

Absentee father and self-proclaimed master storyteller Jonathan Flynn (Robert De Niro) makes a fleeting re-entry into his son’s (Paul Dano) life after an 18–year absence. But it’s only after starting to work at a homeless shelter that Nick sees his father regularly: Jonathan, having fallen on hard times, seeks shelter there. What ensues is the tale of an estranged father and son forced into some semblance of a relationship under uniquely trying circumstances. Also starring Julianne Moore as Flynn’s mother, the film grapples with parent-child relationships, adult homelessness, self-discovery, and class distinction.

Following the screening, Flynn, Dano, screenwriter and director Paul Weitz, and producer Andrew Miano stayed for a Q&A moderated by author Michael Patrick MacDonald, a South Boston native. Of particular interest to the audience was the decision to film the movie in New York (the yellow cabs — not the scenery — give it away), even though Boston plays a significant role in the book. Miano mentioned earlier in the evening that they had to work with one-third of the budget they originally thought they’d receive, and Weitz pointed to this as a main reason for the film location. De Niro, Dano, and Flynn all live in New York: from there, it’s simple math.

But the relocation doesn’t detract from the film. If anything, it makes Being Flynn even better in that it’s more universal — homelessness can (and does) happen everywhere. “We got just the right amount of money to make the movie that [we] wanted to make,” said Miano. “And that’s a blessing.”

For more on Being Flynn, check out Jason Schwartz’s Q&A with Flynn in this month’s Hubbub, or watch the official trailer below:

Being Flynn opens for regular showings on Friday, March 9, at the AMC Loews Boston Common and Landmark Kendall Square Cinema theaters.