Rocket Gibraltar (1988)

Rocket Gibraltar Poster

A man's family comes for his 77th birthday and while he loves all of his children and their children, he and his children don't exactly connect. However, he connects with his grandchildren. And he tells them what he wants for his birthday and they do what they can to give it to him.

Film Overview
"Rocket Gibraltar" is an emotionally-charged household drama directed by Daniel Petrie and composed by Amos Poe. Released in 1988, the film includes Burt Lancaster in his seriously acclaimed role of Levi Rockwell. At the heart of the picture is an aging patriarch's yearning for a Viking funeral, and the intricacy of family characteristics that unfold around this eccentric desire amidst a charming household reunion.

Plot Synopsis
The movie centers around the patriarch, Levi Rockwell, a retired poet, scriptwriter, and a lifelong lover of the sea, living in a beachfront house in the Hamptons. As a member of a greatly dispersed family, Levi wants absolutely nothing more than to see his household together again which comprises his children and grandchildren. As Levi turns 77, a family reunion is managed during which Levi shares his wish to have a "Viking Funeral", where his body would be sent to sea in a burning boat.

Family Dynamics and Character Growth
As the family members collect, "Rocket Gibraltar" delves into the depth of varying household relations and specific stories. Each of Rockwell's adult kids is battling individual battles, from failed relationships to unsatisfying careers. Amidst these individual dramas, Levi's eccentric desire is at first met with incredulity and discomfort.

However, the grandchildren, captivated by the adventurous and irregular funeral wish, choose to fulfill Levi's desires. Innocently unaware of the terrible end accepted by a Viking funeral, they begin a secret mission to develop a space rocket to bring their cherished patriarch on his final odyssey.

Levi's Passing and Family's Reaction
In a heartrending twist of events, Levi quietly dies throughout his sleep. The family, absorbed in their specific adversities, is confronted with the abrupt grief of losing their patriarch. The film perfectly depicts the bittersweet reactions of the household.

Heartfelt Conclusion
Levi's grandchildren, oblivious to the alarming consequences, choose to honour Levi's desire for a Viking send-off. They, unconsciously, place Levi's body in the motorboat which they had been preparing to convert into a 'rocket' and set it on fire. As the burning boat wanders into the sea, instead of notifying the adults, they see it in quiet respect, showing a poignant approval of death of their precious grandfather.

Overall Evaluation
"Rocket Gibraltar" delightfully explores the styles of death, youth innocence, and complex family dynamics. Burt Lancaster's performance sticks out, perfectly catching Levi's classic yearning for the past and serenity in the face of mortality. The film outstandingly represents the unintended candidness of children in dealing with death, as well as the raw individualism and tangled bonds within the household. In spite of the unfortunate premise, the movie manages to maintain a sense of heat, making it a compelling watch.

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