7.7/10
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564 user 192 critic

21 Grams (2003)

A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother, and a born-again ex-con.

Director:

(as Alejandro González Iñárritu)
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2,355 ( 83)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 29 wins & 71 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Carly Nahon ...
Claire Pakis ...
Laura
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Nick Nichols ...
Boy
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Gynecologist
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Loyd Keith Salter ...
Fat Man
Antef A. Harris ...
Basketball Guy
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Freddy (as Marc Thomas Musso)
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Storyline

This is the story of three well-meaning but flawed people: Paul Rivers, an ailing mathematician lovelessly married to an English émigré; Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife, happily married homemaker with two young daughters, with hiding a secret past; and Jack Jordan, an ex-convict who has found in his Christian faith the strength to live a law-abiding life and raise a family. They will be brought together by a terrible accident that will change their lives. By the final frame, none of them will be the same as they will have learnt harsh truths about love, faith, courage, desire and guilt, and how chance can change our worlds irretrievably, forever. Written by Miguel Cane (Stepford@yahoo.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They say we all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of our death... everyone. The weight of a stack of nickels. The weight of a chocolate bar. The weight of a hummingbird... See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

21 gram  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$274,454 (USA) (21 November 2003)

Gross:

$16,248,701 (USA) (19 March 2004)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Spanish-language dedication to María Eladia at the end, "pues cuando ardió la pérdida, reverdecieron sus maizales," translates literally as "for when the loss burned, their cornfields became green again." See more »

Goofs

When the Private Investigator gives Paul the revolver, he flips it open to show that it is loaded. He then spins the cylinder and we hear a ratcheting sound. When a revolver is open, there is no ratchet mechanism connected to the cylinder...it rotates freely and silently. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael: Check, please.
Cathy: Look Daddy, a volcano.
[Cathy blows bubbles into her soft drink]
Michael: It's very pretty. Drink up your volcano. All right. We're going. Mommy's waiting.
Cathy: Daddy, please. Just one more minute.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to ÁLos amo! See more »

Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Some Devil
(2002)
Music and Lyrics by Dave Matthews (as David J. Matthews)
Performed by Dave Matthews
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG
Under License from BMG Film & Television Music
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User Reviews

 
Putting the Pieces Together
4 November 2004 | by (Providence, RI) – See all my reviews

A movie directed in inimitable style, Inarritu's 21 Grams is a provocative, deeply moving filmic work that explores several fundamental questions: What is a life, what is its value, and can we place a value on it? Directed in a series of small, seemingly disconnected fragments that come together as the film progresses, the film is thus shot in a style deeply unfamiliar to American moviegoers. At the beginning, most American viewers will find the choppy, nonlinear timeline distracting and frustrating - a cinematic form of coitus interruptus where once on the verge of revealing an underlying plot concept, the fragment abruptly stops and is picked up at an unrelated point. This style continues throughout, but don't worry. The answers do come after a while.

It is worth noting that the actual storyline, when told linearly, is not as gripping as when told in this style. The linear form would resemble a typical mindless story of the wounded seeking revenge. The way Inarritu constructs the story allows him to give the viewer a sense of where various characters are at the same time without the appearance of repetition. It allows moviegoers to see actual events first, then form associations later. There is a sense of, "Oh, now I get it!" that would be conspicuously absent if 21 Grams were told linearly.

Moving on, the performances of the actors and actresses in the film are incredible. All are believable. The animalistic hatred of Christina Peck (Naomi Watts) for Jack Jordan (Benicio Del Toro), the deeply troubled father who regrets his big mistake and has become a born again Christian, is palpable throughout. Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) is genuine in his efforts to repay, literally, a life debt. The performances breathe further life into the series of events that 21 Grams attempts to chronicle.

By the film's ending, the entire tale of what has transpired is revealed to the viewer. Since key plot elements often appear in several of the disconnected sequences, they come to be points of reference that astute moviegoers can use to sort the rest of the plot. By the end, everything is complete. The title is finally put into context, and the attempt to answer the three previously mentioned fundamental questions is made. Yes, at the beginning, this movie may not seem to make much sense, and it may even be frustrating to watch. Still, resist the temptation to get up and leave the theater. Stick around and watch the whole thing. The pieces do ultimately fall into place. I promise. And besides, there's only one way to find out.


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