The Benefactor | Chicago Reader

The Benefactor

90 minutes 2015

A philanthropist (Richard Gere) is devastated after a car accident he caused kills the married couple who were his two best friends. Five years later the friends’ daughter (Dakota Fanning) reappears in the philanthropist's life. He buys her a house and finds a job for her husband (Theo James), but it quickly becomes clear these "gifts" are down payments on an intimacy the couple doesn't want. Gere's performance is appropriately unsettling—something ugly is at work behind his flashy suits and manic charm. This is writer-director Andrew Renzi's feature-length debut, and if the conclusion is a little too sunny, that’s a small flaw in an otherwise compelling film about the hazards of trying to buy emotional connection.

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