Train fanatic Tom Stark's job enjoyment stops shielding him from grief over his wife Megan's now terminal cancer when Laura Danner commits suicide by planting her car on the railway just before Tom's train arrives. Tom's colleague Otis, who never got over a hobo doing the same on foot, resigns, Tom is suspended. It's even worse for Laura's fatherless son Davey, who loses his home too. He escapes from a monstrous foster-ma's home and tracks down Tom's home. Megan, who was about to leave without allowing him to get closer again during her last weeks, promises to stay if they take on Davey. Boy and childless couple soon grow on each-other, but a social worker is on Davey's trail.Written by
I know very little of this movie until I saw it. All I know is that it's about a railroad engineer and his wife who's suffering from cancer. There's another element in the movie that I didn't know about until I saw the movie and it's about a young boy who has a troubled mother. Somehow the lives of the couple and the young boy would intersect literally and tragically. All this sounds like a melodrama from the 1930s. And in many ways it is, but it also has a brutal frankness in it that the 1930s movies didn't have.
The movie stars Kevin Bacon as the train engineer and his wife played by Marcia Gay Harden, we could see that there's a riff in their marriage. He would much rather work than spend time with his wife even though his boss is telling him he could have some time off. She doesn't understand why he's being so distant. It's obvious he's burying himself in work as she faces a dire future. This part of the movie is very frank as we see the despondency both have.
The other element in the movie is the boy played by Miles Heizer. He has a troubled mother, it's obvious he has become the adult in the relationship. He enters the engineer's world angrily and he blamed the engineer for the death of his mother. The engineer's wife would take pity on him and soon he finds himself staying with them. Somehow the tragedy that took the boy's mother would bring something that the boy has never had and the couple thought they lost.
It's really a simple melodrama but it has a frankness in it that they would never consider in the 1930s. One unforgettable scene is when she looked at herself in the mirror and see the scar cancer has left and breaks down, while he was on the other side of the door not knowing what to do. During one argument he blurts out angrily "Because You had cancer", it sounds as if he were angry at her. Obviously he's angry at the disease for what it has taken away from him, the possibility of children and now his wife. Also when the boy was crying out blaming himself for the death of those he love. It's very honest and frank how children sometime blame themselves for things they do not understand.
Credit and blame goes to both the writer Mickey Levy and director Allison Eastwood created a group of characters who are very complex and are facing difficult situations but then it spirals into sentimentality. The story of the engineer and his wife by itself is powerful then add the story of the boy trying to go on with his life and understand what's going on would make the movie even more powerful but when the two story is combined it became too sentimental.
Miss Eastwood's directing style is very similar to that of her father, tell the story in a straightforward way and get out of the way of the actors, The acting is superb, it's obvious that both Mr. Bacon and Miss Harden are very good actors but young Mr. Heizer proves too that he has talent. He's definitely a young talent to keep an eye on.
All in all I think it's a good modern melodrama but with the frankness of modern times but then it spiraled into an almost shameless, unabashed treacle.
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