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The Messenger (I) (2009)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  4 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 28,322 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 91 user | 215 critic | 32 from

An American soldier struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Monica Washington (as Yaya Dacosta)
Dale Martin
Paul Diomede ...
Motorcycle Cop
Jahmir Duran-Abreau ...
Teenager #1 (as Brian DeJesus)


While on a recent deployment to Iraq, US Army Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is injured when an improvised explosive device goes off within close proximity to him. He is back in the States recovering from the more serious of those injuries, including one to his eye and leg. He has resumed a sexual relationship with his long time girlfriend Kelly, despite the fact that she is now engaged to another man who Will knows. With the few months Will has left in his enlistment, the army assigns him to the Casualty Notification Team in his area. Not having a background in counseling, psychology or grief management, he is unsure if he is well suited to this job. He is partnered with a career soldier, Captain Tony Stone, who teaches Will the precise protocol involved in the job. Tony tells Will, who quickly learns by on the job experience, that this job has its own dangers. As Will learns to adapt to the range of emotions of the next of kin, he is unprepared for the reaction of Olivia Pitterson, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

4 December 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mensajero  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$44,523 (USA) (13 November 2009)


$1,108,684 (USA) (7 May 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The soldiers in the film wear a unit patch with a large "22" on it. This is a fictional unit. The actual 22nd Infantry Division was a "Phantom Division" that never actually existed. It was created in World War II to fool German intelligence. The patch created is different from the one in the film, though. See more »


SSG Montgomery should have at least two service stripes on his left sleeve, in addition to the missing Overseas Service Bars. Each service stripe denotes 3 years of service and he'd likely have at least 2 of them. See more »


Olivia Pitterson: Did you ever loose anybody?
Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery: Yeah. Friends, over there. My father, during peace time, drunk driver.
Olivia Pitterson: Did they catch him?
Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery: No, my father was the drunk driver.
See more »


References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »


Forward Path
Written and Performed by Jensen Reed
Published by Fitzwell Music / Engine Co 30
Courtesy of Rescue Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

a sobering and striking drama
22 April 2010 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Another gloomy drama depicting what life is like when back home in wartime; this movie features some really great acting performances and a subject that resonates every time very powerfully. The plot hasn't been developed too much, as the story feels more focused on the characters, on their moody and attitudes/emotions. It's about a remarkable direction relying very much on the introspective work of the lead actors. Ben Foster is terrific as a man permanently on the edge, Woody Harrelson excellent as well as one who's crossed the edge already. Impressive is also the approach to heroism, without ever simplifying it and with a strong attention to the story-telling detail. And even though the plot takes a couple of contrived turns, there's a subtle, observant film-making about what's going on inside the characters for a change.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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