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What Doesn't Kill You (2008)

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Two childhood friends from South Boston turn to crime as a way to get by, ultimately causing a strain in their personal lives and their friendship.


1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Yebba ...
Roundman / Old Lady (as Mike Yebba)
Brian Connolly ...
Nathaniel Smyth ...
Mark (5 Years Old)
Mark (10 Years Old)
Thomas Regan ...
Young Brian (as Jean Pierre 'JP' Serret)
George Khoury ...
Delivery Man


An armored car is robbed by three men. A passing police officer and one of the robbers exchange fire. The robber is Paulie. In a flashback we follow him and his closest friend, Brian, as they grow up together in South Boston. They're tough guys, thugs, doing jobs for the local boss and chaffing to do more. Paulie's the leader. Brian drinks too much and free bases, ignoring his wife and two young boys. Life-changing events lead him to try to go straight, look for work, take what comes his way, and go to A.A. meetings. He struggles. Paulie shows him the plans for the armored car job. Will they do it? "I am who I am," Brian tells his wife. Is crime his only skill? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They didn't choose a life of crime. They came from it. See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 September 2009 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Real Men Cry  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie is based on Brian Goodman's own life up to the mid 1990s. See more »


Paulie ordered a Chivas on the rocks in the bar but when he picked his drink up, it was straight up in a shot glass. See more »


Paulie McDougan: We gotta be sharp on this one.
See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: The Avengers Special (2012) See more »


Yeah Yeah Yeah
Written by Gary Cherone, Leo J. Mellace & Stephen M. Catizone
Performed by Gary Cherone
Courtesy of Sanctum Sound
See more »

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User Reviews

Heartfelt and Tough in equal doses
22 January 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This powerful true story is brought to life with great directing and the amazing acting of both Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke. Everything in this film screams "real". Realism is the key as the film captures the story of two men trying to live their life with the 'cards they've been dealt'.

Brian's life is not uncommon. There are countless men (and women) that have grown up not knowing any way of getting by in life without living a life of hustling and grinding.

This film captured me from the get go. Showing realism in its characters and making you understand their actions even if you can't condone them. The fact that it's all a true story simply enhances the impact of the story.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
So who shot Brian??? famourt
So Brian (Mark) got 3 bullets roxist
Anyone have any idea... shamrock1847
winter in every scene THIS DID NOT MAKE SENSE jaybob
Just glad they changed the title rafdes15
Good for bottom feeders... huitzilipochtli
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