Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) is an unsuccessful writer, receiving only a slew of rejections with every new novel he sends out.  He teaches poetry to a small class of uninspired students (who try to use song lyrics they think he won't recognise in place of their own homework), and the principal is threatening to end the class.  In addition, he is in a relationship with the art teacher (Alexie Gilmore) who has also caught the eye of a charismatic young writer and fellow teacher (Henry Simmons) who just published his first story in the New Yorker.  Most disconcerting of all, his son (Daryl Sabara) is an unpopular, crude, lascivious teenager who seems to take little pleasure in being rude and mean to other people, but less pleasure in anything else.  Except, perhaps, masturbation and auto-erotic asphyxiation.


When his son accidentally kills himself, Clayton contrives to make the death appear a suicide, hoping to bring to his son some measure of dignity that would not be afforded a teenager who died while masturbating with a belt around his neck.  He writes a suicide note on the computer, saying all the things he had hoped and wished his son would say.  When the suicide note gets mentioned in the police report, kids at the school find it on the internet and disseminate it.  Each person who reads the note, sees something in it, and suddenly Clayton finds himself to be the center of fond, sympathetic attention.  The media gets hold of the note and the story unfolds from there: the fame and the riches that Clayton had always wanted for his writing become his as he becomes the ghost author of his son's life.

Although this has been called a "dark comedy" for its bitterly comic portrayal of suicide, strained adolescent and adult relationships, loneliness, isolation and ambition, it is also a story about parental love.   Indeed, the trappings of comedy decorate a profoundly powerful story about a father's love that transcends the banal worst a teenager can be, and as such speaks to the pain of parenthood and the darkness of grief in a way rarely accomplished elsewhere.

Primary Source

Darko Entertainment