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21 Grams (2003)

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A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother, and a born-again ex-con.

Director:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Reviews
Popularity
2,673 ( 341)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 76 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Paul Rivers
Naomi Watts ... Cristina Peck
Danny Huston ... Michael
Carly Nahon Carly Nahon ... Cathy
Claire Pakis Claire Pakis ... Laura
Benicio Del Toro ... Jack Jordan
Nick Nichols Nick Nichols ... Boy
Charlotte Gainsbourg ... Mary Rivers
John Rubinstein ... Gynecologist
Eddie Marsan ... Reverend John
Loyd Keith Salter Loyd Keith Salter ... Fat Man
Antef A. Harris Antef A. Harris ... Basketball Guy
Melissa Leo ... Marianne Jordan
Marc Musso ... Freddy (as Marc Thomas Musso)
Teresa Delgado ... Gina
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Storyline

This is the story of three well-meaning but flawed people: Paul Rivers, an ailing mathematician lovelessly married to an English émigré; Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife, happily married homemaker with two young daughters, with hiding a secret past; and Jack Jordan, an ex-convict who has found in his Christian faith the strength to live a law-abiding life and raise a family. They will be brought together by a terrible accident that will change their lives. By the final frame, none of them will be the same as they will have learnt harsh truths about love, faith, courage, desire and guilt, and how chance can change our worlds irretrievably, forever. Written by Miguel Cane (Stepford@yahoo.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How much does guilt weigh? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

21 gram See more »

Filming Locations:

Memphis, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$274,454, 23 November 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,248,701, 21 March 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Paul finds the photos of Cristina and her husband in a book, the book he is looking at is "Cruising Paradise", a collection of 40 stories about solitude and loss by playwright-actor Sam Shepard. See more »

Goofs

On one occasion when in Church, there is a close view of Jack, standing for a hymn. The audio is congregational singing. Jack is not singing, but the black guy to his right is singing enthusiastically, but not anything like what the rest of the church is singing, See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael: Check, please.
Cathy: Look Daddy, a volcano.
[Cathy blows bubbles into her soft drink]
Michael: It's very pretty. Drink up your volcano. All right. We're going. Mommy's waiting.
Cathy: Daddy, please. Just one more minute.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Paul Murphey is credited twice for video assist operator. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 76th Annual Academy Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Some Devil
(2002)
Music and Lyrics by Dave Matthews (as David J. Matthews)
Performed by Dave Matthews
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG
Under License from BMG Film & Television Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Putting the Pieces Together
4 November 2004 | by thegouch23See all my reviews

A movie directed in inimitable style, Inarritu's 21 Grams is a provocative, deeply moving filmic work that explores several fundamental questions: What is a life, what is its value, and can we place a value on it? Directed in a series of small, seemingly disconnected fragments that come together as the film progresses, the film is thus shot in a style deeply unfamiliar to American moviegoers. At the beginning, most American viewers will find the choppy, nonlinear timeline distracting and frustrating - a cinematic form of coitus interruptus where once on the verge of revealing an underlying plot concept, the fragment abruptly stops and is picked up at an unrelated point. This style continues throughout, but don't worry. The answers do come after a while.

It is worth noting that the actual storyline, when told linearly, is not as gripping as when told in this style. The linear form would resemble a typical mindless story of the wounded seeking revenge. The way Inarritu constructs the story allows him to give the viewer a sense of where various characters are at the same time without the appearance of repetition. It allows moviegoers to see actual events first, then form associations later. There is a sense of, "Oh, now I get it!" that would be conspicuously absent if 21 Grams were told linearly.

Moving on, the performances of the actors and actresses in the film are incredible. All are believable. The animalistic hatred of Christina Peck (Naomi Watts) for Jack Jordan (Benicio Del Toro), the deeply troubled father who regrets his big mistake and has become a born again Christian, is palpable throughout. Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) is genuine in his efforts to repay, literally, a life debt. The performances breathe further life into the series of events that 21 Grams attempts to chronicle.

By the film's ending, the entire tale of what has transpired is revealed to the viewer. Since key plot elements often appear in several of the disconnected sequences, they come to be points of reference that astute moviegoers can use to sort the rest of the plot. By the end, everything is complete. The title is finally put into context, and the attempt to answer the three previously mentioned fundamental questions is made. Yes, at the beginning, this movie may not seem to make much sense, and it may even be frustrating to watch. Still, resist the temptation to get up and leave the theater. Stick around and watch the whole thing. The pieces do ultimately fall into place. I promise. And besides, there's only one way to find out.


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