Teenagers Rose and Bennett were in love, and then a car crash claimed Bennett's life. He left behind a grieving mother, father and younger brother, and Rose was left all alone. She has no family to turn to for support, so when she finds out she's pregnant, she winds up at the Brewer's door. She needs their help, and although they can't quite admit it, they each need her so they can begin to heal. Written by
Writer-director Shana Feste wrote the script over three months while working as a nanny in Southern California. See more »
When Allen is in the lecture theater, the writing on the blackboard behind him switches a few times from saying 'maths 220' to 'maths'. See more »
All right, I have a secret to tell you.
You're in the middle of the road.
I know. Do you wanna hear it?
Do you want to move your car first?
No, not really. I just wanna tell you one more thing.
[takes a Polaroid picture of him]
What? That's not gonna be good.
Okay, tell me.
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Great substance, clumsy movie, but a tearjerker anyway...yeah, a confused mess, actually
The Greatest (2009)
A crisis of youth becomes a crisis for a whole family, and it's serious stuff. There's an attempt, very conspicuous in gesture and angst filled expressions, to be gritty and real, and it's a believable scenario. It's a tearjerker, surely, an intimate psychodrama dripping in sentiment.
However, the movie depends almost purely on this terrible crisis to succeed, and that's actually slightly backwards, in movie terms. That is, it should be the writing and acting that sweeps us in and makes us share the grief of the main characters. You end up wanting to empathize, but it's sometimes despite the movie, which pushes very hard, like a friend who wants to make you feel bad about something. It has such touching moments it's hard to quite accept that a lot of it is clumsily written, almost like a high budget beginner's film, which sounds worse than I mean it. But you'll see, I think, even if you love it thoroughly, that it works modestly. So accept its flaws, ignore the obvious flashbacks to the good times, skip the dining room table where people are sitting all on one side so we can see them all from the camera, ignore the patter that is meant to make life ordinary and doesn't, and so on. Be forgiving or give it a pass.
What saves the movie (somewhat) from its excesses is the performance of the lead girl, Rose (Carey Mulligan), and the father, Mr. Brewer, played by Pierce Brosnan, who is a nuanced dad, whatever his James Bond pedigree, though neither one is given decent lines to work with. (Brosnan was also a producer, go figure.) The mother is meant to be disturbed in her grief, and she sure is. The sexy grad assistant is too too obvious even for the movies. And the brother, well, what is his role, actually, just to add a second improbable plot? And there is surveillance video of the crash, which is beyond even reasonable open-mindedness, given the isolation implied by the first several minutes of the movie. The sensationalism of that, alone, will warn you of what's to come.
Okay, one last confession. It gets so emotionally atomic at times, with the throbbing cellos coming in the background, I had to laugh out loud. I swear. And yet, I see how it deals with some truly, believably gorgeous stuff.
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