7.2/10
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93 user 216 critic

The Messenger (2009)

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

Director:

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

4 December 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mensajero  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$66,637 (USA) (22 April 2016)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Oren Moverman had wanted to have a scene with Will and Tony singing a song but couldn't decide which song to sing, and settled on Home on the Range after hearing the song being played from an ice cream truck while scouting locations. This is then paid homage to after Will's first notification when he's sitting in Will's car and an ice cream truck passes by playing Home on the Range. See more »

Goofs

Captain Stone claims to have served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, but does not have a "combat patch" on his right shoulder. See more »

Quotes

Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery: Why did you join?
Captain Tony Stone: A dare.
Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery: A dare? Why are you still here?
Captain Tony Stone: Well, they offered me a commission, and no one dared me to leave.
Captain Tony Stone: And I dare you to stay.
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Soundtracks

Sequestered in Memphis
(2008)
Written by Craig Finn, Tad Kubler (as Tad Jason Kubler)
Performed by The Hold Steady
Published by Muy Interesante Music / Key Hits / FSMGI
All rights controlled and administered by State One Songs America LLC
Courtesy of Vagrant Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
NOT a war movie; NOT a movie about an ethical dilemma
25 October 2009 | by (Northern NJ) – See all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to see this at the recent NY Drama Critics showcase, where both the director (Mr. Moverman) and a co-star (Woody Harrelson) participated in after-show Q&A. First of all, the film is superb - but the summaries I've seen so far do not do justice to what the movie is really about. Sure there are ethical dilemmas, sure there are soldiers who have returned from Iraq. But the great strength of this film is its focus on individual human beings and their reaction to humans' most important concerns: life, death and love. Oren Moverman - accomplishing this so beautifully, accurately and subtly in a small-budget film - is to be congratulated. Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster and Samantha Morton are all magically on the same wavelength in their performances. And the writing (by Camon and Moverman) acknowledges the fact that reasonably intelligent people might be watching... people who don't need every little detail spelled out. Oh yes - I should mention that there's a lot of humor interspersed throughout. The result of all this? The people you meet in this film will stay with you for a very long time - and you'll be glad for that.


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