Who wouldn’t want a rich uncle — the kind of fun-loving guardian angel with deep pockets, no family of his own, and an eccentric eagerness to please? Maybe he’s the type of generous soul who always picks up the check for dinner. Or pays for college. Or buys the childhood home you lived in when your parents died tragically so you can raise your own family there.
That’s the somewhat creepy conceit of The Benefactor, which stars Richard Gere as Franny, a wealthy philanthropist who survived the car accident that killed his best friends (Cheryl Hines and Dylan Baker). Five years later, he reconnects with their orphaned daughter (Dakota Fanning), who’s recently married to a young doctor (Theo James) and expecting their first child. Whether it’s altruism or guilt or something even darker, Franny can’t help but lavish luxury upon the young couple, ingratiating himself in their lives in a way that crosses boundaries.
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In this exclusive scene from the film, which opens in theaters and on-demand on Jan. 15, Franny surprises the couple with another gift — a new house. Which is her old house, still littered with memories — and not all of them good, one presumes. “Still has magic, doesn’t it?” he whispers, as a pall falls across her face.
In the film’s trailer (above), Franny says, “All I want is what’s best for your family.”
But don’t be so sure. Everything has a price.