Last week, I saw Nick Flynn’s memoir-turned-movie Being Flynn at a fundraiser in Cambridge. Here’s a picture of Nick, actor Paul Dano, and director Paul Weitz.
Paul Dano plays Nick circa 1987, and Robert DiNiro plays his father as they unpack the baggage of their complicated father-son relationship. The relationship comes to a head while Nick is working at the Pine Street Inn shelter in Boston (renamed the Harbor Street Inn for the movie).
Based on Nick’s memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (too bad they couldn’t keep the book title for the movie), I can’t imagine what it must be like to put your life out there and have it committed to celluloid. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of what one generation passes to another. Are we destined to be our parents? How much of our parents’ baggage do we take with us?
Also, and maybe more important, Being Flynn does a great job of showing how easily someone can lose their stability and become homeless. Likewise, it shows that homelessness does not have to be the end of a person’s story. Proceeds from the benefit screening went to the Elders Living at Home Program, the program that transitioned Nick’s father into an apartment after years of shelters and living on the street.
After the Q &A, while waiting in line for a book, I met the real “Captain,” the gentleman who has worked at the Pine Street Inn for 31 years. His character was one of the pivotal figures in the movie. He was beaming—his joy was contagious. I’m not surprised that Nick's story has touched so many lives. He’s a terrific poet and writer, and one of the nicest people around. I'm thrilled for his growing success.
Shout out Steve Almond for the vegan cupcake. It was yummy!