The Son: Plot, cast, and possible release date of the Hugh Jackman film

Will one father's past ruin his future?

Hugh Jackman as Peter in The Son
(Image credit: Entertainment Pictures/Alamy/Future)

Hugh Jackman’s character grapples with parenting a teen and a baby while haunted by ghosts from his past.

Hugh Jackman stars in the latest must-watch film, written by Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton. An early buzz around The Son is already tipping it to be an Oscar’s contender - with a stellar cast performing alongside Jackman, it’s easy to see why this could be. The film is set for its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 7. This is followed by a North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12. To build on the buzz, here’s everything we know about the plot, cast, and possible UK release date of The Son.  

There seems to be an abundance of talent being celebrated at this year’s Venice Film festival - with opening film White Noise starring Adam Driver, being received to rapturous praise. Anything starring Harry Styles is bound to make a splash, and now fans are eagerly awaiting the UK Don’t Worry Darling release date, following its Venice premiere. Ana de Armas is also getting her chance to shine as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde, as she brings a reimagining of the icon’s life to the screen.

The Son plot: What is The Son about? 

Hugh Jackman plays Peter, a once-divorced man whose teenage son lives with his ex-wife. His life is busy with new wife Kate, and their baby son. His life is thrown into chaos when former wife Kate arrives on his doorstep with their son, Nicholas. It becomes clear Nicholas is struggling with mental health issues.

The official synopsis from Sony Pictures Classics reads: “The Son centers on Peter, whose hectic life with his infant and new partner Beth is upended when his ex-wife Kate appears with their son Nicholas, who is now a teenager. The young man has been missing from school for months and is troubled, distant and angry. Peter strives to take care of Nicholas as he would have liked his own father to have taken care of him while juggling work, his and Beth's new son and the offer of his dream position in Washington. However, by reaching for the past to correct its mistakes, he loses sight of how to hold onto the Nicholas in the present”.

Is The Son a sequel to The Father?

Yes, The Son is a sequel to The Father. Released in 2021, The Father was based on the play Le Père by playwright and novelist Florian Zeller. Zeller has co-written The Son.

Zeller confirmed to Slash Film that the story won’t be a sequel in the traditional sense, as it follows a different set of characters from The Father. However, the characters exist within the same universe, and Anthony Hopkins will be making an appearance. 

It is not yet clear which form Hopkins will take in the film - he has a strong partnership with Zeller, who wrote a part for him for the film - which is unlikely to be his original part in the series. Zeller said “After our journey on 'The Father,' I couldn't make another film without Anthony ... He was the first one to read 'The Son's' script, as one of its characters was written especially for him. Having him by our side to tell this new story has been an honor, a profound joy and very emotional."

Anthony Hopkins as Anthony in The Father

(Image credit: Lifestyle Pictures/Alamy)

The Son: Cast 

  • Hugh Jackman as Peter
  • Laura Dern as Kate
  • Vanessa Kirby as Beth
  • Zen McGrath as Nicholas
  • George Cobell as young Nicholas
  • Hugh Quarshie
  • Anthony Hopkins

Writer Florian Zeller spoke to Hollywood Reporter about casting Hugh Jackman in the film's main role - Jackman wrote to him personally to be considered for the part. He said "It happened in a very singular way. I was just starting the process and talking to agents, and he wrote to me. It was so special, to me at least. He said that he’d seen The Father and the play The Son and heard that I was working on an adaptation, and if I was already in conversation with someone, then great and please forgive the letter, but if not, then please give him 15 minutes so I could understand why he should do the part". 

He continued "I was so surprised by his humility and his honesty. So we met on Zoom, and after 15 minutes it was really striking, because I really felt that he was exactly that character. He wasn’t cheating or trying to perform, he was just talking with me and being himself, and I felt every element that I needed. He’s a very special human being, quite extraordinary. And I’m not just saying this out of courtesy". 

The Son: Possible release date 

There is currently no confirmed release date for The Son in the UK. Following its premieres at the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International film festival, it will have a US cinematic release on November 11. 

Expansion into other territories is set to roll out in the weeks following the US release, with the UK expected to be part of the initial rollout. The Son is part of a trilogy of plays - the already filmed The Father focuses on dementia while middle-aged angst takes centre stage in The Mother. Whether The Mother will get the film treatment remains to be seen.

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.