The Benefactor features Richard Gere at his most animated playing a troubled philanthropist with a guilt complex.
Franny (Gere) witnesses his two best friends (Dylan Baker, Cheryl Hines) pass away in a car accident after he distracts the driver. The heartbreaking pain has made him a hermit for years while occasionally checking in at a local children’s hospital he owns. Olivia – the daughter of the late couple – is expecting and ready to make a family of her own with husband Luke (played by Divergent hunk Theo James). Olivia (played by Dakota Fanning) contacts Franny, who does everything in his power to reconcile and guarantee the newlyweds have a nice life ahead of them.
Gere is great although slightly over-the-top with Franny’s wealthy exuberance, while Fanning and James are competent supporting players as they accordingly react to Franny’s graciousness which becomes awkward for the young couple. However, writer/director Andrew Renzi doesn’t offer movie goers anything other than what they expect after reading the film’s synopsis. In fact, Franny’s addiction to pharmaceuticals is a superfluous add-on, as if Renzi knew he had to include more to make his film different.
The Benefactor is fine. If you rent the DVD or Blu-ray, or download it off of a VOD platform, you’ll feel happy with your choice. Indifferent, but happy.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie