A drama that is centered around a troubled teenage girl and a family that is trying to get over the loss of their son.A drama that is centered around a troubled teenage girl and a family that is trying to get over the loss of their son.A drama that is centered around a troubled teenage girl and a family that is trying to get over the loss of their son.
Without introductory remarks the film opens with a brief prelude of the love between two (just graduated from high school) youngsters who after their first encounter with love pause on the drive home to attempt to make their feelings into words and BAM - a truck plunges into them and the boy Bennett (Aaron Johnson) is killed while the girl Rose (Carey Mulligan) is spared. The camera takes us rather abruptly to the graveside where the grieving parents Grace (Susan Sarandon) and Allen (Pierce Brosnan) and their young drug addicted son Ryan (Johnny Simmons) stare blankly into the hole that has been placed in the middle of their lives. None of the family copes with the death well: Grace can't stop talking and crying about Bennett and searches for a way to find out how Bennett spent the last 17 minutes of his life (that time between the accident and his death) to the point of attending to the truck driver (Michael Shannon) in coma at the local hospital, awaiting his recovery to learn about those 17 minutes; Allen is unable to sleep and tries to cope with the tragedy by not allowing mention of it in his home; Ryan, now on frequent tests to see if he is drug free, attempts to relate to a group therapy session of kids whose siblings have died.
Into this dysfunctional crumbling decimated family comes Rose, three months later, pregnant with Bennett's child, seeking refuge from a mother who is an addict. She is invited to move in, despite the fact that Grace loathes the idea and thinks Allen is merely trying to resolve the grief he has ever faced by attaching to Bennett's only girlfriend. The remainder of the story reveals how each of these injured four characters gradually interact and by bearing their personal grief with their own life problems manage to find a place where they can recover together.
The acting is superb as one would expect from such a talented cast: Carey Mulligan again shows us that she is an important emerging actress; Susan Sarandon allows us to see and understand the degrees of near insanity that grief for loss of a child can distort a life; and Pierce Brosnan proves he is a first-rate actor, managing a difficult role with great sensitivity. The rest of the cast is also excellent in very minor roles - Jennifer Ehle as an ex-lover of Allen, Aaron Johnson and Johnny Simmons as the brothers, and Michael Shannon as the driver of the truck who gradually awakens form his come to make Grace face some truths. As for Shana Feste, she is a strong artist and we should be seeing more beautifully crafted stories from her.
- Jun 13, 2010