Review: J.K. Simmons stars as a grieving father in the big-hearted ‘The Bachelors’

Josh Wiggins, left, and J.K. Simmons star as a son and father dealing with loss in "The Bachelors."
(Freestyle Digital Media)

Deftly balancing humor and grief, “The Bachelors” is fueled by wonderfully human performances and fully realized characters. This is a small but big-hearted movie that deserves more attention than it is likely to get, despite the presence of its Oscar-winning lead, who is in top form again here.

After the death of his wife, Bill (J.K. Simmons) abruptly announces to his teenage son, Wes (Josh Wiggins), that they’re moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. There, Bill works as a math teacher at a fancy prep school, while Wes tries to fit in with his upper-class peers. Father and son try to adjust to their new lives as they deal with the lingering loss. Bill connects with French teacher Carine (Julie Delpy), and Wes falls for his study partner, Lacy (Odeya Rush), who has issues of her own.

Written and directed by Kurt Voelker, “The Bachelors” is an emotionally mature and resonant drama that knows when to lean into its comedic elements, particularly through Delpy’s wonderfully funny Carine and Wes’ friends played by Tyrel Jackson Williams and Jae Head. Unfortunately it occasionally uses Bill’s psychiatrist (Harold Perrineau) as a narrative crutch and treats some psychological issues a bit less seriously than it might. However, it handles grief and emotional struggles with sensitivity, working to destigmatize getting professional help when it’s needed, especially for men.



‘The Bachelors’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Playing: AMC Dine-In Sunset 5, West Hollywood

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