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

Director:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Foster ... Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery
Jena Malone ... Kelly
Eamonn Walker ... Colonel Stuart Dorsett
Woody Harrelson ... Captain Tony Stone
Yaya DaCosta ... Monica Washington (as Yaya Dacosta)
Portia ... Mrs. Burrell
Lisa Joyce ... Emily
Steve Buscemi ... Dale Martin
Peter Francis James ... Dr. Grosso
Samantha Morton ... Olivia Pitterson
Paul Diomede Paul Diomede ... Motorcycle Cop
Jahmir Duran-Abreau Jahmir Duran-Abreau ... Matt Pitterson
Gaius Charles ... Recruiter Brown
Brendan Sexton III ... Recruiter Olson
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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At various stages in development, Sydney Pollack, Roger Michel, and Ben Affleck were all attached to direct. Co-writer Oren Moverman was finally asked to helm the project after all these fell through. See more »

Goofs

When notifying Olivia of her husband's death, Captain Stone tells her, "You're listed as the NOK on your husband's forms." NOK is an acronym meaning "Next-of-Kin". Casualty Notification Officers are instructed not to use acronyms when making a notification, as the Next-of-Kin might not understand them. See more »

Quotes

Captain Tony Stone: Men are the ones that try harder to keep it together. They also can hurt you.
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Soundtracks

Forward Path
Written and Performed by Jensen Reed
Published by Fitzwell Music/Engine Co. 30
Courtesy of Rescue Records
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User Reviews

 
a sobering and striking drama
22 April 2010 | by antoniotiernoSee all my reviews

Another gloomy drama depicting what life is like when back home in wartime; this movie features some really great acting performances and a subject that resonates every time very powerfully. The plot hasn't been developed too much, as the story feels more focused on the characters, on their moody and attitudes/emotions. It's about a remarkable direction relying very much on the introspective work of the lead actors. Ben Foster is terrific as a man permanently on the edge, Woody Harrelson excellent as well as one who's crossed the edge already. Impressive is also the approach to heroism, without ever simplifying it and with a strong attention to the story-telling detail. And even though the plot takes a couple of contrived turns, there's a subtle, observant film-making about what's going on inside the characters for a change.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

4 December 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Messenger See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$44,523, 15 November 2009

Gross USA:

$1,109,660

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,595,417
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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