Things We Lost in the Fire (2007) Poster

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Powerful Story and Performances
nrigsby10 October 2007
Went to a preview of this movie last night. I was blown away by the powerful performances of Benicio Del Torro and Halle Berry. Del Torro's performance was particularly moving - his best ever and Halle Berry definitely delivers. This is the story of a woman who appears to have been so invested in her husband as the center of her universe that when she tragically loses him, she turns to his best friend (who she has hated for years) to keep from losing her connection to her husband. In the course of events, she discovers the redeeming qualities her husband had always seen in him.

Del Torro gives a poignant performance of a drug addict who struggles to change his life after the loss of his best friend - with quiet dignity. A must see at least once. Although the movie is long, I can't imagine cutting one moment of this powerful story. Cinematically it's superb.

Everyone who knows anyone who has struggled with addiction will be gripped by the performance of Del Torro.
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Great Story, Great Acting and Directing!!
Toolman9115 October 2007
Saw this last evening at a preview screening here in Arizona and it was a LOT heavier than the trailer leads you to believe, which, I for one, was grateful for! Granted, this is only MY opinion, but I think that Halle does some of her best work in a long time here and for me, ranks up there with Monster's Ball and Losing Isaiah. Of course, Benecio is a great pleasure to watch as always, playing the demonized friend of David Duchovny, but I think Halle rises just a notch up everything here and truly shines! The supporting cast is also really enjoyable to watch, especially John Carroll Lynch playing a next door neighbor who finds an unlikely friend in Benecio's character. Great camera work and great direction all the way around and although the film is a bit long, I am glad the director had the wisdom not to rush through the story. Great film and I cannot wait to purchase it on DVD!
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Accept the Good
ferguson-621 October 2007
Greetings again from the darkness. Very good melodrama from Scandanavian director Susanne Bier. The film is intentionally slow moving ... just like real life tragedy. Although we could have been beaten over the head with the cute as heck kids, the story is actually more focused on the heroin addicted best friend played by Benecio del Toro. This makes the point that strength can come from many sources.

Halle Berry gives her best performance since "Monster's Ball" (yes even better than "Catwoman"). We feel her happiness, pain, desperation and hope. The cute kids are played by an amazing 11 yr old Alexis Llewellyn and Micah Berry (not her real life son). Also strong is Alison Lohman, who just doesn't work enough these days. However the strongest performance is by Benecio. I am not sure if the role was written for him or if he just perfectly captures best friend Jerry. It is most complicated role and requires enormous depth.

I definitely recommend the film thanks to its basis in reality and fine performances and terrific direction. However, I will qualify it by saying that I don't believe it is quite in the class of "21 Grams"
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One Day at a Time...
WriterDave4 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes you have to view movies one day at a time. As a film buff, I have to take the good with the bad. Danish director Susanne Bier's first American venture, "Things We Lost in the Fire" is one of those surprisingly good human dramas that often gets lost in the shuffle and doesn't receive the credit it deserves.

When Audrey (Halle Berry) loses her husband (David Duchovny) in a tragic Good Samaritan act gone bad, she deals with her grief in an unexpected way by inviting his drug-addicted best friend Jerry (Benicio Del Toro) to come live with her and her two young children while he "gets on his feet." Featuring a music score designed to remind people of "21 Grams" (which also starred Del Toro and played with many of the same themes) and interesting cinematography full of extreme close-ups and small visual details designed to evoke intimacy and realism, "Things We Lost in the Fire" delicately mirrors Audrey's grief process against Jerry's rocky recovery.

The film is far from perfect as it sometimes deals with subjects (especially the scenes where Jerry is withdrawing from heroin) in a clichéd manner. Berry also struggles as she seems to underact in some of the more poignant scenes as a way to balance her overacting in some of the more theatrical scenes. However, her performance as an organic whole is very strong, and her character and her family feel and look "real." The things they say and the way they deal with their situations are raw and heartfelt without ever being sappy or sensationalistic. The kids are naturalistic, and they actually look like they could be the children of Berry and Duchovny. Del Toro is once again a revelation, and his performance speaks volumes with his mannerisms and facial expressions as he attempts to reconcile his sad past with a hopeful future. Sadly, his tour de force was overlooked by every end of the year awards in 2007.

The bread and butter, however, is in the small details. "Things We Lost in the Fire" uses visual motifs, side stories, character foils, mirroring, and nuanced repetition in dialog as ways to develop grander themes. This is the stuff of great novels, and rarely do we find it attempted in film. What could have easily been dismissed as a melodramatic weeper turns out instead to be something quite good. The overlapping closing scenes where Berry speaks not a word while coming in from the rain, and Del Toro delivers a rehab monologue that gives quite possibly the most honest insight into addiction and recovery ever captured on screen, is a hauntingly hopeful mosaic of small moments. Yes, there were some moments of formulaic Hollywood gobbily-gook and some moments of strained drama, but these closing moments are real. They are good, and we as human beings (as film goers) have to learn to accept the good.
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Sad But Not Depressing
brenttraft28 October 2007
I think a lot of people are skipping "Things We Lost In The Fire" because they think it is going to be depressing. While the film is definitely sad, it is not depressing because it is about coping and surviving in the face of tragedy. It is one of the best films of the year.

Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro give amazing performances and it is unfortunate that there are not more films that take advantage of their talents. I bet Halle Berry would not make so many bad films if she were given more scripts like this. The photography and directing are first rate.

If you have enough interest in this movie to be reading this review, you need to run out and see "Things We Lost In The Fire." This is a film about the things that matter most in life. It will lose much of it's impact on video, so you need to see it on the big screen while you can.
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Amazing Movie
RecoWilliams22 October 2007
This movie played out on screen like a book. It was so amazing to watch. I really loved how there was no music playing for like the first 15 minutes of the movie. This was one powerful film which is sure to get some Oscar nominations. Go see this film, it's a shame they didn't promote it better!

I was so impressed with Bencio Del Torro he gave one of the best male performances that I have seen in a movie in a while. He was so believable as a recovering heroine addict. Halle Berry was sensational as a wife who is now learning to cope with the loss of her husband. This movie has a really nice weave affect to it. It jumps back and forth from beginning to end, but in non-intrusive way. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves movies. It is now on the top of my must see movie list!
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Heather_Allen17 October 2007
While the movie itself was very even-paced throughout, it allowed time to process the emotions that were being conveyed so the slower-pace worked. This movie- everything from storyline to characters- was amazing and thought provoking. I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to see a movie full of heart, brilliant acting, and a unique storyline. The wonderful acting didn't stop with Halle and Benecio either- the supporting characters including the children were fantastic! There was simply so much heart and likability in those roles. It is the type of movie that remains your head even after you leave the theater which for me, doesn't happen often.
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Heavy but GOOD
raycatch919 October 2007
The Good: The writing and acting are top notch. The Bad: The hand held camera pans and scans and really, REALLY, close, close-ups are a little dis-concerting.

But Benicio DelToro is right on with his performance! Best acting I've seen in a while.

Saw the movie at a preview in Cleveland. The Theatre was packed, and the reaction from most people was that it was too heavy, too depressing. But it is exactly that quality that makes it ring true. The interplay between the neighbor that hates his wife and Benicio's character are perfect. A smaller role is played by Alison Lohman ( Matchstick Men ) was also very well acted.

A steadier camera without the wild pans and I would give it a 9 or 10.
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They don't get any better than this...
bikerhiker466 March 2008
Rather than offering the usual trite "Make Sure You Don't Miss This Film" I will simply say, "Don't Bother Watching Anything Else In 2008"

Having worked as a drug councilor back in the early 70s I can assure you that this stunning film doesn't just get it right when it comes to the horrors of heroin addiction it provides powerful hints as to the best way for an addict to make good his escape! Anyone working in the field would do well to buy the movie and watch it over and over and over. NA might also put it to good use within its groups.

But this flick is much, much more than a primer on drug addiction. It is simply one of the most moving and motivating flicks I've ever seen on the potential for creative change achievable through the decidedly Low Tech technique of people realizing that in the end the Bell Tolls Today for us all. Better yet it illustrates beautifully and with great emotional impacting the almost unbelievable potential inherent in the process of one and all

working towards something a bit larger than making selfish self come true.

My hat is off to everyone involved in this stunning piece of work! Brilliant script, brilliant directing, brilliant acting and some of the most innovative and creative camera work that I've every had the joy of experiencing!
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a BEAUTIFUL film!! C'est un très, très bon film !! Bueno!! Bellissimo!! Wunderschön!!
thebathroomsinger10 May 2008
I found this film so good that I gave it a rating of 10 as I can't see how it could have been made any better!

Any different and it (probably) wouldn't have the same impact, a bit longer, would've been dragging it, any shorter and it would've been incomplete! A different cast – hmmm… Unimaginable! Most importantly, the order in which the events have been played was needed to be done that way for the characters develop, and, more importantly, for us to feel for them.

Halle Berry is sooo natural and perfect as Audrey Burke that by the end, you forget that she's an actress and you'd address her as Mrs. Burke! The same goes for her two kids, more so Alexis Llewellyn, who plays Harper, her 10-yr old daughter. Under the quiet demeanour of Harper, lies an intelligent, reflective person who knows she has to play the role of the more mature 'older sister' yet can't stop herself from feeling emotionally wrought under the circumstances. She was one of my favourite characters in the film!

Then there's the amazing Benicio Del Toro!! Haven't seen him play a better character role than this one.. Heroin addiction hasn't been portrayed in a harsher light since Requiem for a Dream! It truly shows you how, the 'lows', outlast and definitely beat the temporary highs that one can get and he totally lives the part of the junkie trying to rehabilitate himself, fighting his daily battle with temptation and addiction. The movie almost revolves around him as much as it does around Halle Berry but even the seemingly small role played by David Duchovny is not the least bit insignificant, as his absence is felt throughout the film.

All in all, it's a 'complete' film that doesn't go overboard. All the emotions are well-measured before they are displayed – no excess. There's joy and then there's sorrow, there's loss then there's denial, there's strength and weakness, there's hatred and then there's love and affection. It's as realistic as any drama can be and it's narrated through the roles that each of them has to play with these emotions.

Could've been a contender for the Oscars.. for its lovely message, and for its goodness! But judging by the way things went down this year, this film didn't grab the attention of the judges as there just wasn't enough blood! ;-)
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Tantalizing film to touch your heart
Jamrite8 November 2007
Things We Lost in the Fire shows the effects on family and unity after the death of a loved one. I can relate to this story knowing how much it hurts you missing that particular person everyday. The story of this film is pretty even well paced, yet a bit dragged in the beginning. Benicio Del Toro gives a very invigorating performance, possible one of his bests. Halle Berry really surprised me in this film. She really shows the stages of grief and acceptance very well and at one scene I thought Oscar worthy again. The supporting cast, specifically the children and the next door neighbor, were astounding. Good script, a little bit over with the tight close ups, but TWLITF makes you think about the loved ones close to you and how you should tell them everyday, "I love you and for that I will accept the good."
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Sweet Audrey?
Vox_Pops18 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I can't help but think that the film's script is based on the song "Sweet Jane" by the Velvet Underground. We first hear the famous opening lines when Brian visits Jerry in his apartment. Then Jerry sings the same lines under the shower in his room at Audrey's house, and to really hammer the point home, the song is played in its entirety when the credits roll. And if you know the song's lyrics and if you think about it for a minute, Audrey could be Jane, Brian could be Jack and that would make Jerry the rock 'n roll musician. So, if this script is indeed based on the song, Things We Lost In The Fire is a film about an impossible love story, and one which is not headed for a happy ending at that.

Let me explain what I mean.


In the song "Sweet Jane" there are 3 characters. There's the "I" of the story. The main thing we know about him is that he's in a rock 'n roll band. Then there's Jack and Jane. Jack's a banker and Jane's a clerk. Jack and Jane have money but they are like "wooden soldiers", all set in their ways. The rock 'n roll guy hasn't forgotten about the olden days when poets "studied the rules of verse" and the ladies rolled their eyes. And really, being in a rock 'n roll band is so much cooler than working in a bank. So naturally, the listener's sympathies lie with the rock 'n roll guy. Jack and Jane have everything, he has nothing. They grew up being able to go out dancing, he had "an evil mother" who told him "everything is just dirt". If you have a mother like that, I imagine you don't really grow up being all ambitious and you end up having to work instead of being able to enjoy your evenings in front of a fireplace ("watch me now!"). But here's the catch: The song is called Sweet Jane. And just as much as it is not true that women always faint and that villains always blink their eyes, it is not true that the rock 'n roll lifestyle is always better than a banker's life. Because banker Jack has the one thing the rock 'n roll guy really wants and won't be able to get: He has Jane. Jane loves Jack ("heavenly wine and roses seem to whisper to her when he smiles") but it's the rock 'n roll guy standing on the street corner with his suitcase in his hand who's longing for "sweet Jane".

And you can tell Jerry has been in love with Audrey longer than he would want to admit. When Brian talks about Audrey sleeping with someone else, you can really see Jerry's interest sparking. In the diner, Jerry gears the conversation towards the subject of Audrey again (asking Brian if she was angry he came to see Jerry). And when Brian says "I don't know why you're so dead set against seeing her again", Jerry's explanation is lame, to say the least. After he's moved in, we see him having dreams about her.

But Jerry has very low self esteem (the legacy of "an evil mother"?) and he suffers silently through all of Audrey's verbal abuse ("It should've been you, Jerry. Why wasn't it you?"). He tells Harper he couldn't fill her daddy's shoes. It pains him that Audrey wants to play match-maker for him and Kelly but he doesn't protest, he doesn't believe that it could work between him and Audrey, because frankly: "Anyone who's ever had a heart, they wouldn't turn around and break it. And everyone who's ever played a part, they wouldn't turn around and hate it." He knows his part and he knows she has her part and if I am interpreting his dream at the end correctly, he is not entirely convinced he could overcome his addiction. He's trying but fate is against him. He doesn't want to give up on himself completely, so it's one "one day at a time". But will the "life of Jack (Brian)" really suit him? Will he be able to live life as a mortgage broker? Well, the reward would be sweet.
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A powerful movie; surprised me
Dragoneyed36315 April 2008
When I read the title of this film I honestly said aloud, "Um, alright then?". It kind of made me laugh and I did not really take it seriously, but I of course know you should not judge a film primarily on the title. It is not even that funny of a title, I just found it humorous for some reason. Anyway, pretty soon I heard so many wonderful things about it and I decided I might as well give it a try, because it at least sounded like it would be entertaining if anything else, and it had Halle Berry, who I always enjoy watching, regardless of the film. I put it in to watch it and immediately my eyes were glued to the television screen.

I thought all the actors and actresses gave extremely powerful performances and the story line was very intriguing and strong where I did not think it would be. This was a very good movie and Halle Berry took on a character that, I at least, had never seen her play before which blew my mind. I liked Del Toro very much in his role, as well. I would go as far as to say that this movie was flawless in it's acting and performance skills, because there was nothing at all that was poor about it, but even though I say it is a great movie, it just didn't really excite me, personally. I mean, it was actually kind of a boring movie to watch at some points, but it is still very enjoyable for the performances, like I said. It surprised me how well of a movie it was, and I say if you have not seen it and are not thinking about giving it a chance, you are missing out on something special.
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gradyharp5 March 2008
Few films released last year have the quiet sensitivity in writing (Allan Loeb), direction (Susanne Bier), cinematography (Tom Stern), and acting (Berry, Del Toro, Duchovny) as this gem of a movie. Taking on a subject of grief after a sudden traumatic death and the way it affects family and friends would seem like a tedious subject for a two hour film, but THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE proves again that care and devotion in telling a difficult story with restraint and tenderness is far more compelling that many of the 'big' movies that fill the theaters with more superficial topics.

Brian Burke (David Duchovny) is a generously warm man to his beautiful wife Audrey (Halle Berry), their son Dory (Micah Berry), and daughter Harper (Alexis Llewellyn) as well as to his longtime, childhood friend Jerry Sunborne (Benecio Del Toro) who is constantly struggling with an addiction to heroin. Brian is suddenly dead as the film opens and the friends are gathered at the Burke home for the funeral. Audrey is devastated by the abrupt loss and quietly bears her shock in order to be present for her children. During the reception Audrey suddenly remembers she has not informed Brian's best friend Jerry of his death and sends her brother to fetch him for the services. We meet the wasted Jerry, the shambles of his heroin-addicted life obvious in his tiny apartment, and yet when Jerry hears the news of Brian's death, he is profoundly shocked: Brian is the only friend he has. Jerry makes himself presentable and attends the funeral and despite the fact that Audrey had always considered Jerry a 'weight' on Brian, the two offer each other a zone of connection that cannot be filled by any other. Slowly Jerry becomes part of the Burke household and his role in offering love to the children and solace and protection to Audry results in changes in Jerry's life that provides one bit of evidence of the redemption that can occur from shared grieving. 'Things', such as those items lost in a fire at the Burke's in the past, are simply 'things': interpersonal connection, hope, and the 'light from within' are what truly matter.

Berry and Del Toro give finely nuanced performances in these difficult roles, further establishing their credentials as being two of our finest actors in film. But the entire cast of this film is pitch-perfect and under the direction of Bier communicates powerfully with the viewer. The extraordinary camera work concentrates on extreme closeup views of eyes, hands, lips and tears and allows the viewer an intimate relationship with these characters. Johan Söderqvist provides a subtle musical score that underlines the story without calling attention to itself. For this viewer this is hands down one of the finest films of 2007. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
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Great acting makes this a favorite
tlk_contact27 May 2008
I do have a thing for modern rough dramas. To me this belongs in the same category as 21 Grams, Crash, Babel and (the under-appreciated) 187.

We have Halle Barry, Benicio del Toro and David Duchovny enjoying being part of this. It's very dark, but still with a sense of hope, that everything will turn out OK, that the characters will eventually find a new meaning in life - whilst not ever forgetting the dark days and the darkness.

Halle Barry really gets to show off her skills in this one, haven't thought of her as a great actor before but this is a very strong delivery. Benicio... well.. is he ever bad? David, very steady.

The camera-work I didn't reflect much on, but there was nothing annoying stealing focus from the plot, which is perfect, the story is more important than anything.

Highly recommended and Thanks for reading and thanks to all IMDb contributors! /Chris
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Grief and Addiction Intertwine in an Affecting Drama Bolstered by Del Toro's Towering Performance
EUyeshima10 March 2008
If you've seen her 2006 melodrama, "After the Wedding", you can clearly tell this is a Susanne Bier film as her signature style can be seen in the hand-held camera-work, the unexpected jump cuts and the heavy use of close-ups on the physical features of her principal actors during the most cathartic moments. The Danish-born director is an apt choice to guide this somber 2007 drama dealing with grief and addiction in the aftermath of an unexpected death. Showing the unfiltered responses to life-altering experiences appears to be Biers' specialty since that is exactly the focus of both films. This time, the set-up sounds more appropriate as the subject of a Lifetime TV-movie, but despite some severe contrivances, first-time screenwriter Allan Loeb is able to elevate the film by imbuing the situation with surprising candor and making the principal characters credibly flawed. Bier's distorted timeline is a bit of a nuisance at the outset, although this luckily becomes less of an issue as the movie progresses.

The plot hinges on the Good Samaritan death of Steven Burke, a successful Seattle-based real estate developer whose sense of decency and devotion inadvertently triggers a series of events leading to the tragedy. Left behind are two broken people - his angry, emotionally fragile wife Audrey, who has two small children to raise by herself now, and his close friend Jerry Sunborne, a one-time lawyer who has become a full-blown junkie constantly strung out on heroin in a depressing SRO unit downtown. Even though Audrey is distrustful of Jerry, Steven has remained loyal - a point of contention that after Steven's death, motivates Audrey to invite Jerry to stay in her half-finished garage after the funeral. Their relationship becomes confused but at least, it does not make a predictable turn toward a romance. Instead, we witness Audrey's almost instantaneous dependency on Jerry and her subsequent resentment of him when he becomes a father figure for her children. From that point, it becomes gradually clearer that both need to move forward with their lives in light of their personal limitations.

As Jerry, Benicio Del Toro inhabits his role to maximum effect, bringing a haunted quality that he leavens with his natural charisma. He is particularly harrowing during his character's detoxification, and you can't help but root for his recovery no matter how uncertain it may be. Finally challenged by a role comparable to her breakthrough in Marc Forster's "Monster's Ball", Halle Berry does an admirable job in portraying Audrey's prickliness while maintaining a sympathetic core. At the same time, she is saddled with more of the plot contrivances than Del Toro and has a breakdown scene that feels a bit too calculated. David Duchovny's natural likability helps make Steven more than just an elliptical plot device, though his screen time is understandably limited to brief flashbacks. Alexis Llewellyn and Micah Berry (no relation to Halle) believably play Audrey's children, while John Carroll Lynch (the prime suspect in "Zodiac") provides welcome comedy relief as the Burkes' jogging neighbor, a real estate broker who wants to help Jerry turn his life around. Even though his character is supportive to the point of being idealized, Omar Benson Miller effectively plays Audrey's too-good-to-be-true younger brother, and Alison Lohman ("White Oleander") shows up late in the film as a persistently inquisitive recovering addict.

The 2008 DVD is relatively sparse on extras. There is no commentary track from Bier or the principal actors, but there is a twenty-minute making-of featurette, "A Discussion About 'Things We Lost in the Fire'", which features comments from Bier, Loeb, producers Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and Sam Mercer, Berry, Del Toro, Duchovny, Lohman and Miller. Most of the focus is on Bier and Mendes who discuss getting the film off the ground, how she works with the actors and how the look of the film was achieved. Running about nine minutes, seven deleted scenes are included, mainly filler dialogue scenes that were understandably excised except for one with Jerry and a fellow addict out on the streets. The last extra is the original theatrical trailer. By the way, the film's title refers to Audrey's emotional catharsis when she reads an inventory list of things that were destroyed in the garage during an electrical fire prior to Steven's death.
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deep heavy stuff but believable and artfully constructed
secondtake29 April 2012
Things We Lost in the Fire (2007)

A probing, emotional, deeply felt, sometimes slow, but necessarily slow movie. I think in some ways it's an astonishing and beautiful attempt to get at some very very basic things about love and loneliness and family needs.

I didn't start appreciating it all, and in fact the first five minutes might strike some people as sentimental and false. But this quickly disappears, and the emotions are real. If the music is melancholy and pushing the drama, so be it. It's heavy stuff.

The structure is a contemporary commonplace and it sometimes seems confusing but I came to think this was a good thing overall, making you pay attention to a fairly ordinary plot line. And it would allow you to see the movie again. It's got a lot of layers. The music shifts suddenly, the scenes jump from one reference to another, and from one time to another, and things are interrelated just because they all are happening to the same people at the same time, quite naturally.

The star by far is an astonishing and humble Benicio Del Toro. He plays an addict, or a recovering addict, and he doesn't overplay it. It's an award winning performance. Next to him is Halle Barry, who rises to the top of her ability, I think. She's perfect as a suffering widow, again not overplaying it. The person who keeps these two at their best has to be the director, Susanne Bier, who I had never heard of. She's a Danish-born director who has several really good films now to her credit which most Americans haven't seen, but one, "Brothers," was so good they made an American remake of it. See the original, which is pretty amazing (as is "After the Wedding").

So, if you have the emotional stuff to deal with it, give this a whorl.
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Performances worth your time
tjackson4 January 2010
The director, Susanne Bier, who did the original version of Brothers (remade by Jim Sheridan) has an equally powerful film here. She goes for great acting moments in a film that is about loss and recovery - in this case a murder and an addiction. Bier goes for intense moments of truth, and her patient and intense visual style seeks that out. She knows what to shoot, and how to pace the editing to draw an audience into the heads of these characters.

The performances she gets from her actors are more than enough reason to see the film. Halle Berry is at her best, and Benicio Del Toro shows how really amazing he can be. Watch for his playful moments, his seeming ease, and how he contrasts that with some really intense acting as a drug addict. What a face on the guy! Even the kids are spot on with none of that 'professional' air, but really natural performances. I love Omar Benson Miller's (Miracle at St Anna's) scenes. He is a warm and wonderful actor. John Carroll Lynch as the kindly and conflicted neighbor disappears into another role as he has in 79 other movies. And finally, Duchovny has real chemistry with Halle Berry as her husband in a marriage that is warm, loving, if not always perfect - which only adds to the pain of loss. It is refreshing to see multi-racial casting like this, not to make a point, but because the actors are right and they live in the real world.

Some reviews have called the film melodramatic, and the acting "award seeking". But that is unfair to a director who knows how to pull from a decent script, and great actors, moments of real insight, emotion, and truth. That's what I was hoping to see, and that's definitively what I got.
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Lost And Found
Chrysanthepop2 March 2009
Bier tells a sensitive story of grieving and dealing with loss. The theme is quite heavy. While many have criticized the film for its slow pace and yes, Bier does take her time to tell the story, I did not see that as a disadvantage because this allows the viewer to really see the depth of the characters and how these people were deeply affected by tragedy.

A lot of it depends on the actors' performances. Their emotions look raw. Halle Berry is wonderfully restrained. This is the first superb performance of hers I have seen since 'Monster's Ball'. Not that she's been less than satisfactory in anything else but here she is given a well written part in a long time. Benicio Del Toro is fantastic too. Both capture the essence of their characters and interestingly portray Audrey's and Jerry's different ways of dealing with grief. Moreover, Jerry has to face the additional challenge of fighting his addiction. John Caroll Lynch, David Duchovny and Alison Lohman provide great support. The child actors are brilliant too.

On the technical side, it is a well-made film. The cinematography is good. The background score is gentle and 'quiet'. The sets are quite appealing. I liked the Audrey's house.

'Things We Lost In The Fire' is a strong depiction of grief. The theme might be a little too heavy for some and not everyone seems to 'get' it but it is a well-intentioned great movie that tells a moving story.
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Good Grief
ed_two_o_nine4 May 2008
I had no knowledge of this film going into it and only watched it as in was available on the flight I was on. But I am so very glad that I did. What could have been a run of the mill TV movie turns in to an acting tour de force for the always magnificent Benicio Del Toro and also surprisingly for Halle Berry (is it just me or does she need a better agent to steer her more towards roles that will show of her acting prowess rather than the tripe that she normally ends up in). The basic premise of the film is that of Berry's character loosing her husband David Duchovny (good to see back on the big screen) and how to help her deal with the grief she invites Del Toro's character Jerry, Duchovny's best friend and a recovering heroin addict to live with her and her children. The film is a slow burner and I think that works for the story as each character slowly finds out more about themselves and their interactions become almost cathartic. There is an excellent supporting cast who all do well with their limited roles and even Berry's children are good and have a decent amount of restraint (a quality I wish we would see in more American child actors) The films reaches a nice subdued ending leaving multiple options open for the lead characters and although it is not easy viewing I would recommend this to everyone and will definitely give the movie multiple viewings.
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BNT is fantastic
williamjalverson24 October 2007
Accurate depiction of drug addiction and recovery. I highly recommend this movie. Del Toro is a force on-screen. Omar Berry is a very understated actor whom i hope to see more of in the future. I've never liked Duchovny, but I think he was perfectly cast in the role of Halle's husband. My only negative is the over use of very close zooms on the eyes and other features of the actors. It was good, but overused. Considering the surprising amount of humor in the movie, I'd love to see Benicio del Toro in a comedic role. As much as I love to see Halle Berry naked, I'm glad she was not nude in this movie. It would have been gratuitous and would have detracted from the quality acting.
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Must watch for Benicio del Toro
p-stepien24 November 2012
When loving husband Brian Burke (David Duchovny) gets unpurposefully murdered, when interfering with a couple's fight, his wife and mother of two Audrey (Halle Berry) is left to cope all by herself. Brian does leave a sizable amount of money, which guarantees her legroom, but the tragic death remains unbearable. Brian's best friend Jerry Sunborne (Benicio Del Toro) is a recurring drug addict, kept away from the family, but he nonetheless visited and helped out despite the spiralling downfall. The funeral of his friend serves as a way of connecting Audrey with Jerry, who ultimately takes in on herself to save him from the untimely narcotic fate.

In my mind Susanne Bier remains one of the most massively overrated modern-day directors. Essentially an executor of high-end dramatic drivel her most major flaw comes from attempts of integrated foreign elements into her story (the good doctor in Africa in "Haevnen" or an Afghanistan POW back-story in "Brodre") with such infantilism and well-intentioned but borderline misguided racism, that blow-back is inevitable. Nonetheless Sussane Bier is extremely effective and in-depth at uncovering frailties of family life, however any ventures outside her safety zone of first world reality are true calamities in her work.

Her fortunately the material stays close to home, giving a strong dramatic back-drop of the disruptive relationship of harrowing widow and recovering drug-addict. Nonetheless "Things We Lost in the Fire" feels at times like a compassionate top shelf family drama, occasionally glossy and with hints of soap opera, where the overall impact is increased by the powerful performance of Benicio del Toro. Every inch of his body aches and reacts, giving a truly masterful role, which is a real must. Whereas the story itself is intriguing, but somewhat unmemorable, images of del Toro and the pain, longing or remorse reverberating throughout his whole body is something that truly needs to be admired.
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even though not a lot happens...
MLDinTN13 August 2008
if you have a good script and good acting, a movie can still be interesting and worth while. This is such the case with this serious drama. A woman, Audrey, loses her husband. He was best friends with Jerry, who is now a drug addict trying to clean up. She didn't really care for him, but after her husband's death, she invites him to live with her and the kids to try to help him out. The 2 become closer and Jerry tries to help the kids cope. Jerry has set backs himself.

The acting was good, especially Del Toro. It was an interesting story of several people fighting grief and addiction.

FINAL VERDICT: If you like dramas, then you should check this out.
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not just artistic but realistic as well
beregic20 April 2008
rarely there are any movies this days, that succeed in literally getting the viewer not only involved but actually go throw a whole range of emotions regardless of his/her own principles or takes on life in recommendation; if you like social-realistic movies to confirm certain aspects of today's society, that until watching this you might have had certain doubts,this is definitely for you. this is not a political correct feature, yet it will satisfy both conservatives as much as liberals. in any way, and at same time there is no "fence jumping", yet it will make you analyze your thoughts again and maybe again. this feature has an excellent replay value, again not something easily achieved in today's industry. the production is top-notch director deserves as well credits for making this one look REAL.( very likely it is in your own backyard as well). usually this type of movies targets a specific audience or specific feeling and range of emotions. but this one manages to literally bring all together and even make you a "better person" regardless of how "good" or "bad" you might think you are.

i have never, until after seeing this one, have considered Halle Berry being an exceptional actress( beside being "super-sexy" and regardless of the previous "perfect stranger " where the plot is a knock-out not necessary the acting). but here she seems to come together and really be herself in a very realistic raw form. as about Benicio Del Toro, once you see him for 5 minutes here or even less i doubt there would be anyone disappointed. him and Berry deserve the admission/renting price alone. on top of it add an extremely well done plot that will question your morals, not only yours but everyones else around you. it is super engaging story maybe because there is nothing here that could be seen as "fantastic" or a "make-up" simply the best movie of this year, i am trying to think of something to criticize about, even style, but i can not find anything; very unusual to me.
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One of the best acting of the year
peoples-award3 April 2008
One of the best acting performances of the year! I can't tell movie watchers too much about it than to not think about it, just get your car keys, get in the car and go see it, or rent it. It is definitely the best story i have seen in a long time, and not to mention the fantastic acting of Benicio Del Toro. He was real and very believable. His acting should have been nominated for an Oscar. Please don't take your children with you, it is definitely not a children's movie. Things we lost in the fire is a movie you will often talk about. If you agree with me after you have seen it please come and visit me at:
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