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.
Before leaving on his second tour in Afghanistan, Marine Captain Sam Cahill, a leader, an athlete, a good husband and father, welcomes his screw-up brother Tommy home from prison. He'd robbed a bank. In country, Sam's helicopter is shot down and all are presumed dead. Back home, while Sam wastes away as a prisoner in a remote encampment, Tommy tries to take care of the widow and her two children. While imprisoned, Sam experiences horrors unbearable, so when he's rescued and returns home, he's silent, detached, without affect, and he's convinced his wife and brother have slept together. Demons of war possess him; what will silence them? Written by
Originally, Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to play Sam and Tobey Maguire wanted to play Tommy, but director Jim Sheridan did not feel Maguire was convincing enough to play the "bad" brother, so they switched roles. See more »
When Grace reads the letter, the paper and the envelope are much bigger than they were when she originally received them after Sam's presumed death. See more »
What drew me to this movie was the cast of Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman, two phenomenal actors in their own regards. The only expectation that I had going into see this film was that I would be unimpressed by Tobey Maguire. Having seen him in several films (including Spider-Man), I must say that I wasn't prepared for the incredible performance he provided.
This movie was very simplistic. Nothing flashy, no real special effects, small amounts of simple guitar music as a soundtrack. But it conveyed a whole roller coaster of emotions from the beginning. The growth of Jake Gyllenhaal's character, the anguish displayed by Natalie Portman, the palpable pain and suffering by Tobey Maguire, and the fear and anger displayed by the eight-year-old Bailee Madison all combine for a very gripping tale.
Many regard this movie as anti-war. I simply do not see it as such. Soldiers are praised for their heroism on the battlefield (which they completely deserve), but all too often the wounds they suffer physically and mentally are disregarded. This movie illustrates the very real problem of the mental health of our service men and women, and the problems it causes in family dynamics.
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