|Index||10 reviews in total|
Angie (Radha Mitchell) is pregnant and is having course with her friends, Barbie (Megan Mullally) and Judith (Catherine Lloyd Burns), who are also pregnant. Her husband is in love with her, and they both are preparing carefully the baby's room. Her mother is a busy woman living in another town and does not pay much attention to her. On the delivery, Angie has a beautiful and perfect son, Gabriel, who dies less than twenty-four hours after of `sudden death', without any apparent reason. This is the beginning of Angie´s journey to hell, with the loss not only of the baby, but also of her shallow friendships. This sad movie is very well directed by Marc Foster. All the cast has a great performance, but Radha Mitchell is magnificent. Forbidden for pregnant women. My vote is seven.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Everything is going oh so perfectly in Angie and Russ' lives. They've got a
big house, an enduring marriage and a baby on the way. They're insulated
from everything awful, yet "Everything Put Together" shows their
vulnerability and the transience of their well-being. A sober and skillfully
rendered portrait of the American Dream unraveling,
"Everything Put Together" is one of the most visually accomplished and
emotionally provocative films in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance
No yuppie magazine could find a better poster couple than Russ (Justin Louis) and Angie (Radha Mitchell). They're attractive, intelligent and endearingly supportive of one another. Also, they're blessed with friends who commiserate and compare notes on Angie's pregnancy. All is going well, especially the pregnancy. Everything is wonderfully normal, in no small part due to the fact that Angie is doing all the right things.
Yet this oh-so-pretty picture falls apart when merely hours after her baby boy's birth, the child unexpectedly dies from sudden infant death syndrome. It happens, the doctors explain, and nobody knows what causes it or what to do about it. It's a staggering blow to Angie, and even kind, supportive nourishment from her husband does not keep her from sinking into a sharp malaise. Her behavior becomes erratic and frightening to her friends. Indeed, her friends turn out to be the fair-weather variety, and Angie becomes isolated in her torment.
A compassionate character portrait of what can happen when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, "Everything Put Together" shows the full strains of one woman's burden and isolation. Poignantly scripted by a triumvirate of writers (Adam Forgash, Catherine Lloyd Burns, Marc Forster), it's a wrenching story of personal loss and overwhelming heartache. Much of the film's power derives from Mitchell's acutely etched performance as the grief-stricken mother, a woman who has always relied on the security of her blessed and well-ordered world. Plaudits to Louis for his compact portrayal of Angie's well-meaning husband, conveying the quiet strength of a man forced to walk on eggs.
Everything works in "Everything Put Together," a testament to the sophistication and skills of director Marc Forster. Under his guiding hand, the technical contributions are alive and vital, telling us as much about the character's suffering and strength as the story itself. In particular, Roberto Schaefer's cinematography is a masterwork of telling compositions: His framings, some askew and some straight on, point us to the fullest story dimensions and character depths.
Marc Foster's "Everything Put Together" reminds me slightly of Henry
Jaglom's 1994 "Babyfever". Both tell of women as friends and mothers to be,
the joy and gaiety while looking forward to the arrival of a baby. But
there's a drastic difference between the two: Foster's film went beyond the
point of 'entertainment.' It's raising the consciousness to the tragedy and
pains of parents losing their newborn to SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
(SIDS) - a cause unknown event that may not happen to one's life until the
circumstance unexpectedly presents itself.
This film has a similar flavor to the Indie 2000 "George Washington" (w-d: David Gordon Green) - small film, down to earth people, casual feel camerawork with creative angles/effects applied. The subject matter is not your Hollywood safe theme but one that does need to be told and to prompt the awareness of the masses in like situations.
Besides the fact that Marc Foster directed the upcoming due for wide release "Monster's Ball," the name Radha Mitchell drew me to this film. I appreciate her exceptional performance as Syd opposite Ally Sheedy in Lisa Cholodenko's "High Art" 1998. I like the paired energy of Mitchell and Vin Diesel in the 2000 sci-fi "Pitch Black" even though the storyline was slim. It's heart-warming to see her support as one of the producers of this Indie film. Yes, not much publicity - I saw the film with only a handful few on the Friday of its one-week limited release in SF at the Landmark's.
Mitchell gave an impressive controlled performance as Angie, a new mother who so very suddenly lost her newborn. It was hauntingly forlorn seeing her at a lost and how the cheery circle of friends, of pregnant women and new mothers, disappears so quickly into nothingness. This is not "Amélie" fantasyland, this is personal emotions cruelly real. It's reaching out and touching no one. Justin Louis as husband Russ is barely the only support, hardly her emotional crutch. The ambient sound effects and the music by Thomas Koppel enhance the camerawork. The story is hard medicine - uneasy to swallow (that we could possibly be reacting just like Angie's friends and neighbors, having the same fears and callous behaviors; that hospital medical staff attitudes can be insensitive to patients' unfortunate situations...) - such incisive insights!
The length of the film is 1 hr. 27 mins. However, when the end seems inevitable, I felt I don't want it to end just yet - wanted to go on a bit more beyond the very Swiss screen approach we see I hope it did not result from under social pressures to please or conform would like to think that she and Russ did came through and that her grief over baby Gabriel has grown into selective pleasant memories and renewed outlook.
Definitely a worthwhile film to appreciate. Thank you to the people and efforts in the production of this film.
the previous reviewer commented that people didn't act like this in real life--first of all, it is meant to be a slight parody; second, people DO act like this. i thought the movie was a fascinating examination of the kind of mindset that prefers to keep everything in its place--"put together", you might say--and doesn't know what to do when a round peg suddenly becomes square.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Note: this review may contain a 'spoiler." Pregnant mothers and mothers with newborns should NOT view this film! Too real and too terrible for words, but a very important film with a story that needs to be told. It appears that some have dismissed this film as "too incredible," or "not believable," but these people must have never been through it, or seen a friend go through it. This film moved me like no other. Having witnessed first hand friends of mine who have lost children to SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), I could appreciate the sentiments and experiences of the characters in this film. The cruelty of "friends" and the idea that the mother AND father who lost her child were now somehow "unfit" to be near, or have their [former] social circle's children near, was heartbreaking, and only too true in our so-called "modern" society, where everything must be "just fine" in order to avoid being shunned or rejected. What is this curse that afflicts our white middle class, especially "educated white middle class" females? Why would this young couple be further punished, after experiencing one of the worst kinds of pain, that of losing a child? Why does our society have no rituals of comforting those who are bereaved, other than a church service and an "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that..." as if talking about it and, more importantly, EXPRESSING GRIEF OUTWARDLY is taboo. Is death and grief so unacceptable in today's world that those that have contact with it, or inadvertently experience it, must be punished further? Is no comfort to be offered, outside of "paying a therapist," "taking medication" or going to yet another group, this time a "grieving group?" Is it still "Blame the Mother" for anything and everything that goes "wrong?" Does nature, or "the Creator," never have the right or the obligation to end a life for it's own reasons or purposes, or perhaps because something in a child did not develop right? Are we never to accept the natural events of life or of God or of anything that we "don't like" or "don't expect" or "didn't plan for this to happen?" Who can you sue when a child dies? Whose "fault" is it? Why is it so impossible to accept death in today's society, and why do we punish the mothers who are touched by it, and grieve the most in it? Are we all "supposed" to be living a "Martha Stewart kind of life?" Does Death have no meaning or purpose in this world? The actors were all cast perfectly and their dialogue was so natural and "on the mark," it felt like they were in my own living room. I had wondered how far this "idyllic" pregnant mother's group would last, and to my horror and surprise, it didn't last past the birth of the first child in the group, to the most innocent of the group. The cruelty displayed by all the couples towards the couple (both mother and father) who had lost their child was horrendous, heartbreaking and all too true, even in "this modern day and age." What will anthropologists have to say about us when they study our American culture as practiced by educated, middle class white men and women who are my own age? The fact that this poor mother ultimately was forced to lie about being pregnant again to finally "gain acceptance" once again was truly heartbreaking, and a comment on how far "friendship" truly goes, in our "average white middle class America." The director, Marc Forster; the writers Catherine Lloyd Burns (who also played "Judith" in the film) and Adam Forgash (writer and producer of the film), and all the actors are to be commended for their complete and accurate portrayal of our modern experience and reaction to "death" or anything that "goes wrong," for that matter. The "witch" of the women's group (the "leader of the pack") is particularly to be commended at giving such a perfect portrayal as the ringleader, who leads the charge in ostracizing the most beautiful and innocent member, through her own jealousy and greed. She doesn't even like her own children, but is so "proud" to be "breeding" again. Is she nothing but an ever-present and ever-active brood mare? Do any of these women have an ounce of compassion in their hearts? What do they consider "friendship" to be? Did "witch trials" ever end? Marc Forster is the same director who brought us "Monster's Ball." This is a stunningly beautiful dreamlike film that quickly turns into a psychological nightmare, based solely on natural events and the human reactions to those events. Death touches us all, and we must learn to accept and revere it in the same spirit we supposedly accept and revere birth. It's all part of the same cycle, and we all "live forever" through the turning of this wheel. "Everything Put Together" is a must see film and one that will stay with you. Simply incredible.
First, A WARNING: If you are pregnant or just had a child, do NOT go see
this film. Really. You simply don't need some of these concepts swimming
around your mind. Trust me.
I found this film depressing without being cathartic.
It certainly touches on some complex aspects of the situation in the film, not least of which is the near-primitive rejection of a 'wounded animal' by the herd (in this case a group of new or expectant mothers.) And Radha Mitchell does an excellent, nuanced job of portraying the shifting emotions and fragility of the main character. Justin Louis - looking an awful lot like Aidan Quinn and portraying a similar type of character (amiable, sensitive, manly) - is also quite affecting as the husband struggling helplessly to make things better when almost any move he makes is doomed to be wrong.
The other characters, too, are well-cast and well-acted. And the photography is just moody enough to have texture without being distractingly 'pretty'.
So, what kept this from being a powerful and ultimately satisfying film (for me)?
First of all, the pacing, which was reminiscent of many French or Swedish films. Lots of lingering domestic vignettes, almost documentary like, setting up who these people are, their relationship, their world. It takes a LONG time to get to the central crisis of the film. And once it occurs, there's lots more lingering domestic scenes.
All of this is justifiable in a film that focuses on the emotional effects of one incident. But it assumes - rather than compels - a certain complicity on the part of the viewer.
More fundamentally though, the fact that the main character seems pre-ordained for SOME kind of catastrophe makes her big reversal seem more inevitable than shocking. It doesn't help that she's portrayed as deeply anxious from the start. So much so that at times this feels like an early Polanski film, preparing us for something really awful. So, when the worse does occur, rather than being shocked, we're almost relieved.
Add to this the curious choice to give the protagonist a monstrously remote mother and what would be surprising here would be for her to ever experience unshadowed happiness. She seems at the least fragile, if not quietly but fundamentally disturbed from the start. The result is that some of her more excentric behavior later seems to flow not from the tragedy but simply from what we know of her character.
Since none of her girlfriends react with common decency, never mind nobility, about the only truly likeable character we meet is the husband, so that it's far harder to be intimately affected by the central events here. Because it simply seems that even if they had never occured, this would never really have been a very happy world.
Still, a good, if not memorable film. Especially for under $500,000. And - a surprising bit of light at the end - some of the most beautiful credits I've seen in a while.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
-Most movies usually show how friends bond together after a tragedy and
how everything magically solves itself again. This movie on the other
hand completely detaches from that and shows you how we should be
careful about the people we call friends. The main character Angie not
only looses her baby in the movie but also looses her friends. The nice
about the movie though is that they don't make the friends seem like
horrible people but rather just people that don't know how to properly
communicate their emotions to a grieving mother. The baptism scene is a
great example of that, because they didn't invite due to the fact that
they thought it would be too painful for her, but instead had the
-The whole movie is an emotional roller coasters that we witness Angie go through. When we first meet her, she's a happy woman that's on the verge of giving birth. She is in love with her husband that loves her back very much and she's very lively and pretty sexual. All that goes to hell once she looses her baby and for me it was fascinating to watch her go through this horrible ordeal in her own way, and see how it almost drove her to the end. She goes from happy to depressed reclusive and see how it affects the people around her. I really loved that scene when she goes to see her baby at the morgue and after seeing him denies that it's him. It was really heartbreaking to watch because she wished with all her heart that her words would turn to reality and her baby would magically come to life.
-The performances here are pretty strong with Radha Mitchell owning the movie and commanding greatness in her own beautiful subtle way whenever she's on screen. Her character Angie is one that could have easily being played in a "woe is me" manner, but Mitchell plays her as sympathetic yet scary. The scene in which she denies that the baby at the morgue is hers is probably my favorite moment with her in the movie. So heartbreaking and so well acted. She has one scene in the movie in which she lets out a scream after she finds out that her baby is gone, and that scream should make anyone that watches the movie with the volume cranked up pee themselves a little bit. I doubt that's how real people act when they find out something horrible but hey it works in the movie. Her performance isn't her strongest since I strongly believe that title belongs to "High Art", but Mitchell is wonderful nonetheless and I was really happy to hear Meagan Mullally say she was the best actress she had ever worked with.
-Fans of "Will and Grace" should be pleasantly surprised by Meagan Mullally in this movie. She plays one of the pregnant friends and much like all the friends in the movie she shuns Angie after her loss. It would be easy to hate her, but Mullally plays as a lost friend that doesn't know how to deal with the current situation. Justin Louis who has great chemistry with Mitchell plays the loving husband. He is just a regular guy that tries his best to cope with the loss as well but knows that he can't show too much emotion because he needs to be strong for the woman he loves so much. The rest of the supporting players are great especially the actor that plays the doctor.
-This is an ultra low budget movie with people behind the scenes pulling multiple duties so I guess it's not much of a shock that the movie is shot with a DV camera. The roughness and unattractiveness that the DV employs does fit the tone for a lot of the movie since it fully conveys what Angie sees of the world which, is a very disheveled and bitter place. Overall, it would have been pretty nice to see the movie shot with film. The music unlike the cinematography doesn't reflect the budget since it feels like it's scored with a 60 piece orchestra instead being scored at the home of director Marc Foster's friend Thomas Koppel. The best way to describe the music is "Blade Runner" meets "Crash" which is very high praise in my book. Low budget stuff like this usually gets stuck with source music or worse some flavor of the month musician writing some incoherent mess, but in the case of this movie the music is very nicely done and even has a very nice song at the end for us to enjoy.
-Of all the disturbing elements of the movie, the one I thought was really messed up was how the end of the movie suggested that Angie might go back to being friends with the same back stabbing friends that left her out to dry. The one thing that's not certain though is whether she was indeed pregnant like she told them that she was, or whether she was faking it to see their reaction. I really hope that it was the latter because I would hate to think that she would go back to laughing and chatting with the same people that gave her the cold shoulder when she needed them the most. On the other hand if that is the case then I guess it would make the movie a lot better, because it will show how people can be so desperate to accepted that they will be pals with the ones that screwed them over.
-It's a very difficult movie to watch and not something I'd recommend for young viewers, but if you don't mind the low budget productions and the awkwardness of most of the scenes then you should check this out.
Generally I enjoy the independent/Sundance/artistic license type movies. I also like Radha Mitchell and hope she gets more and better movie roles in her career. Overall, however, I thought this movie came up short. I can scarcely imagine a mother as distant and unaffected as the lead character's mother. My own mother would have immediately attached herself to my side if I were in Angie's shoes. Also, her circle of friends and their self-centeredness seemed a bit overdone. I am as cynical of mankind's charitable nature as the next, but even I believe most `friends' have much more compassion and common sensibilities in dealing with a friend that just lost her baby than was portrayed by Angie's friends, who came across as unintelligent and shallow. Also, from the beginning, I believe the average couple would have enlisted the help of group or solo therapy to deal with such a horrific loss. The husband may have `been there' for her but he provided no source for a solution to his wife's angst. He should have encouraged her to seek professional therapy rather than popping for a trip to Aruba as the cure all. It is still an interesting film to watch if you assume for a moment that you live in the cold, heartless, `stereotypical' world of easily detachable people. Again, I see Radha Mitchell as a very compelling actress to watch. Thanks.
It seems the in thing now-a-days to laud the incompetent, the
amateurish and the arty, especially in films. If the acting deserves
quotation marks around it and consists of people aimlessly moving about
the screen, it is subtly intelligent! If the dialog (script?)
(delivered in such a way that trucks could be run through it)is puerile
and flat with an irritatingly improvised quality, it is brilliant. The
more soporific the pace, the deeper (or loftier) the film. The more
long and needless tracking shots(which take up most of the running
time), the more enduring the masterpiece. The artier the editing, the
more original the movie. The more inept and slipshod the direction,the
more profound the director.
I really cannot believe the praise heaped on this dilettantish piece of trash by a disquieting number of IMDb's commentators who seem to be so gaga over the subject that they ignore its treatment and do not seem to mind being put to sleep or tortured. One of IMDb's commentators states that the film is fine, but difficult to watch! If it is difficult to watch, how can it be a fine film? And speaking of subject matter and to make matters worse, several IMDb commentators indicate that pregnant women should not watch this film (or this is not a film for the pregnant), a generality (i.e., all pregnant women are alike) on an intelligence level with this movie.
"Everything Put Together" would be a really great movie....on another planet. Good on execution and implausible on story, this serious little indie drama tells of a woman who is ostracized when her baby dies from SIDS. Of course no one behaves like the characters in this flick which sinks the credibility and makes the buy-in all but impossible. Just more flotsam on cable which may have some token entertainment value for the needy sofa spud. (C)
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