The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.
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A young man lingers in the family home of his fiancee, after her accidental death. While grieving along with her parents and drawn into legal issues presented by a district attorney seeking justice for the family, he finds himself falling in love with another woman, against his own best intentions. Written by
Eileen Peterson, unit publicist
Jake Gylenhaal reprises (see: Donnie Darko) the sensitive, slightly confused young man searching for truth and its attendant emotional clarity. The characters (with the possible exception of Sarandon) attempt to hide truth, mostly from themselves, with silence and various feats of mental slight of hand. When all is finally revealed, I would have liked to believe that the characters would act nobly the way they do here, even if the character dialogue up to this point has not given all of them razor sharp definition. However, it is the acting of the cast (especially Hoffmann's) that makes us believe they are the people we see at the end of the movie, and their synergy with Brad Silberling's writing/directing makes the film work. (It is particularly revealing that Silberling had Sarandon and Hoffman in mind when he wrote the original draft; rent DVD if possible) We are convinced of the characters' virtue through well-written dialogue and well thought out character relationships. Would Sarandon's "wickedly honest" character really have married a schmuck? No, indirectly taking the heat off Hoffmann's character to prove himself prior to his ultimate acceptance of the truth. What about Bertie? (played by the lovely Ellen Pompeo - read: attractive, not just another hot airhead) Her involvement with the Gylenhaal character adds an extra twist to the Gylenhall-Sarandon-Hoffman triangle and her presence as a love interest adds levity to an otherwise pretty serious subject, but should she really get as close to the Gylenhaal character as quickly as we're led to believe? What do they have in common? The death of someone close and a Rolling Stones song nobody heard of before the title of this movie. Why did their involvement have to be a rapidly flourishing romantic one? I think an I-like-you-and-you-like-me would have been sufficient to complicate the situations in business and on the home front vis-a-vis Gylenhaal's former relationship with Hoffman and Sarandon's daughter. The rest of the character relationships develop naturally, at a well-measured pace, but this one races miles ahead. This is the only real flaw I found with the movie. The soundtrack is fantastic and also shows vision on the part of Silberling in that he conceived of certain key scenes with these songs in mind.
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