An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him. Frank understands the atrocities of life as a big picture; Joe does not. Joe is content to enjoy smaller pleasures: children, family, routine. Joe mistakenly believes he can straighten his little brother out and convince him that life is good. Frank is a cursed man. He is cut between his love for his brother and his repulsion at self-indulgent contentment. The result is a painful story of heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, despair, and the tragic side of love. Written by
Sean Penn intended to quit acting and focus on directing films. Although his intention did not come to pass, Penn went on to win two Oscars for acting. See more »
During the "mirror" scene, the "from behind" shot and the "mirror" shot don't match. (This actually makes sense, given that the camera would have been visible from the angle the scene is presented.) See more »
My brother Frank was due back from Vietnam within the week. We hadn't seen each other since I'd lost the farm in '65, and took the uniform job to make ends meet.
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Absolutely one of my favorite films of all time. Not enough real movies like this. Tells an important tale of family, love and loss. Sean Penn is a national treasure as both an actor and filmmaker. David Morse and Viggo Mortensen give their best performances of their careers. Charles Bronson is such a surprise as the father.
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