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Spotty characterization undermines what could have been a great movie.
lewiskendell13 August 2010
"I want to know everything I would know if he was still alive. I want more memories of him."

After their teenage son Bennett (Aaron Johnson) dies in an accident, Allen and Grace (Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon) are left unable pick up the pieces and move on after his death. But when the young woman (Carey Mulligan) who's carrying Bennett's unborn baby arrives at their doorstep with nowhere else to go, the tension and pain of Bennett's death is brought forward in a way that will either destroy the family, or finally push them towards dealing with their grief. Scenes of Rose and Bennett's relationship before his death are also woven throughout the movie, and provide a nice way to better know the two characters.

The Greatest started off pretty well. The scenario of a family struggling with the loss of a child isn't an uncommon one, but the cast seemed well on their way to delivering a solid story about loss and healing. Mulligan was excellent, and Brosnan and Sarandon were solid, even though they occasionally didn't quite deliver the emotion that they were reaching for in a few scenes. No, my problem with The Greatest wasn't the actors or the premise, it was the writing.

The story takes the oddest detours at times, often with little relevance to, well...the actual story. This really seemed apparent with the character of Ryan, whose entire subplot with the girl he meets has little relevance on his character arc, and made his resolution feel artificial, as a result. And Rose and Allen's trip to a teenage party seemed completely out of place, and I was left wondering what it was supposed to add to the story. The characters also didn't appear to have a truly solid identity, and as a result, some of their decisions and interactions didn't come off as genuine. It's like writer and director Shana Feste had ideas about what she wanted to see happen in the movie, but didn't bother to build those ideas around relatable and believable characters. A movie like this depends on making a connection between the audience and the characters, and at times, that connection felt very hollow, for me.

The Greatest is an okay movie, but I'm convinced that it could have been much better with a script written by someone with a better grasp on creating solid characters.
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A Great movie
cl77726 February 2010
The Greatest, starring Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, and Carey Mulligan (An Education), is a relatively unknown movie by a first time director (Shana Feste) that is nevertheless quite good.

Brosnan and Sarandon are married and play the grief stricken parents of two teenage boys, one of whom dies suddenly in a horrific traffic accident at the very beginning of the film. Sarandon is excellent and demonstrates she is a superior actress in her portrayal of a mother grieving I would almost say to the extreme. She is haunted by what happened to her son, by the fact that he stayed alive for 17 minutes and that she was not there to help him. She simply cannot get over the loss and resents her husband for moving on so quickly. A very poignant scene occurs when he offers her a bell, a sort of tool to help her with her grief, and tells her to ring it each time she thinks of their deceased son. She takes the bell from him and starts ringing it- non-stop. This and many other moments were extremely sad, showing how people cope with loss in very different ways.

Things get even more complicated with the early appearance of Carey Mulligan's character, the girlfriend of the late young man, and her surprise announcement. This leads to even more sadness and hurtful reminders for the mother, but also a certain easing of the pain for the father, which inevitably results in great tension between the couple. Sarandon gets especially furious, distressed and jealous when, trying to reach her husband during a break down, she finds his phone turned off and learns subsequently that he had gone to the movies with the young girl. The scene escalates so much with an almost silent force that Brosnan picks her up and throws her fully clothed into the ocean, to awaken her and make her see that her anguish is unreasonable and causing pain to the rest of the living members of their family.

The younger brother, appearing almost indifferent at first, succumbs to his emotions in the second half of the movie. The father, who keeps a cool demeanor and tries to hold the family together through his strength also finally collapses and interestingly, Sarandon picks up where he left off and comforts him, telling him that their son did not suffer. The whole family and their links are very credible and Brosnan astonished me by being particularly realistic.

Even if this movie is almost painful to watch due to the difficult subject matter, it is very well acted and written, making it extremely emotional and powerful. It ends well so do not be too afraid, but if you are a crier, a tear or two will definitely be shed.

My rating: 7.5 For more reviews please check out!!!
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Death to Birth
gradyharp13 June 2010
THE GREATEST is a small film, quietly made in 28 days by first-time writer/director Shana Feste. The story/script is so unusual and touching that she was able to gather a rather extraordinary cast to bring this delicate story to life. It remains amazing to many of us that while the audiences flock to the gigantic CGI big noisy flicks, little jewels such as this film go completely unnoticed. The only hope is that enough people see this film now on DVD that that both the message of the movie and the quality of the acting and production gain the attention THE GREATEST so justly deserves.

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.

Grady Harp
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Touching Film
ArizWldcat15 February 2009
This is not a "feel good" movie, but its feelings are true. The story follows a family (mother, father, brother) of a young man killed in a car accident in the first scene of the movie. Their lives are jumbled up by the introduction of the son's (brother's) girlfriend. I thought all of the actors turned in fine, powerful performances. Even more impressive is that the writer/director of the film was a first time filmmaker. That she was able to get such a marvelous cast in her first film is amazing. This movie reminded me of "Ordinary People," updated for today. Of course there are differences, but it's the same genre.

Although I recommend the movie, know that it's kind of a downer. I have a feeling it won't do well because these days people want movies that are more of the "feel good" variety.
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Treasure your family before its too late
Gordon-1121 February 2010
This film is about a family who grief over the loss of their son in a traffic accident. This process is complicated by the unexpected arrival of a teenage girl who claims to have their son's unborn child.

"The Greatest" is powerful and touching. The mother, played by the amazing Susan Sarandon, is relentless in knowing the truth about her son's final moments. She gives such a moving performance that anyone gets saddened by her tragic loss. Carey Mulligan also deserves mention, as she displays a spectrum of convincing emotions effortlessly. Judging by the stream of great movies she is in, she will be a big star and Hollywood knows it.

"The Greatest" is a powerful story that moves anyone easily. As Susan Sarandon's character says, once your child is born, a woman knows that her child is the greatest. It is easy to relate to this statement, and yet everyone seems to be forgetting to celebrate this fact. As this film shows, you never know what you have got until its gone. "The Greatest" is a powerful reminder that you should treasure your family before its too late.
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Great substance, clumsy movie, but a tearjerker anyway...yeah, a confused mess, actually
secondtake13 July 2010
The Greatest (2009)

A crisis of youth becomes a crisis for a whole family, and it's serious stuff. There's an attempt, very conspicuous in gesture and angst filled expressions, to be gritty and real, and it's a believable scenario. It's a tearjerker, surely, an intimate psychodrama dripping in sentiment.

However, the movie depends almost purely on this terrible crisis to succeed, and that's actually slightly backwards, in movie terms. That is, it should be the writing and acting that sweeps us in and makes us share the grief of the main characters. You end up wanting to empathize, but it's sometimes despite the movie, which pushes very hard, like a friend who wants to make you feel bad about something. It has such touching moments it's hard to quite accept that a lot of it is clumsily written, almost like a high budget beginner's film, which sounds worse than I mean it. But you'll see, I think, even if you love it thoroughly, that it works modestly. So accept its flaws, ignore the obvious flashbacks to the good times, skip the dining room table where people are sitting all on one side so we can see them all from the camera, ignore the patter that is meant to make life ordinary and doesn't, and so on. Be forgiving or give it a pass.

What saves the movie (somewhat) from its excesses is the performance of the lead girl, Rose (Carey Mulligan), and the father, Mr. Brewer, played by Pierce Brosnan, who is a nuanced dad, whatever his James Bond pedigree, though neither one is given decent lines to work with. (Brosnan was also a producer, go figure.) The mother is meant to be disturbed in her grief, and she sure is. The sexy grad assistant is too too obvious even for the movies. And the brother, well, what is his role, actually, just to add a second improbable plot? And there is surveillance video of the crash, which is beyond even reasonable open-mindedness, given the isolation implied by the first several minutes of the movie. The sensationalism of that, alone, will warn you of what's to come.

Okay, one last confession. It gets so emotionally atomic at times, with the throbbing cellos coming in the background, I had to laugh out loud. I swear. And yet, I see how it deals with some truly, believably gorgeous stuff.
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Absolutely loved this movie
princesstopaz9315 July 2012
A 6.6 out of 10 is disgusting, this movie was amazing and is definitely one of my favorites. I just finished it and I am still crying. I cried from start to finish, even laughed a little. Its heart warming in a kind of dark way. I will recommend this movie to everyone I know and will most definitely watch it again, and will more than likely cry just as much. Anyone debating on whether or not to watch this movie....WATCH IT! Its wonderful. Kept me interested from start to finish, awesome casting. This movie makes you feel like you knew Bennet and that you were grieving with the family. You feel their pain even though you may not have gone through something as tragic.
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Moving and Emotional
Angela Karnes21 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I hope people see this well-written, well-acted movie. It reminded me of Redford's "Ordinary People", only less dark. This movie interjects welcome and necessary breaks of humor appropriately and ends so that it does not become too much to bear. And it does not dwell or linger in a dark place; the scenes change so you move with the story. There is one shot on the beach with Brosnan and Sarandon which is particularly lovely.

To see a film that wrings the tears out of your heart 5 minutes into it - only to succumb again and again - AND compel you to laugh out loud, is getting your money's worth. I saw it at the Nashville Film Festival and though I was into the movie, I could not tune out the audible emotional gamut of the audience - gentle sobbing, shock, chuckles and laughter. So it wasn't just me!

I expected perfection from Sarandon, anticipated good things from Carey Mulligan and Aaron Johnson, and was pleased with Johnny Simmons. What surprised me was Pierce Brosnan - not only that he played a sympathetic, complex character but also that he exec produced it. I liked him fine as a Bondsman but I admit I sold him short, subscribing to an eye candy should be seen, not heard mentality. I appreciated his packaging but never gave much thought to him having any interesting cerebral activity other than walk, smile and stun. Good turn for him! I was impressed and he should be proud.

Again, I am afraid that it will not be seen by many folks unless Marketing makes it happen. I expected an honest effort but did not really believe I would like it this much. I am glad I saw it. The storyline may not be so compelling in itself to draw in masses but those who come, will be touched and satisfied.
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Best of Sundance!
vivlynn2830 January 2009
I saw over 20 films at Sundance this year and The Greatest was by far my favorite. The performances were truly special - I suspect (as a lot of people do) Carey Mulligan and Jhonny Simmons will become big stars because of this movie. Pierce was quite good as well - he shows a side we've never seen before and I applaud him for that. I've never been a big Bond fan but now I am a Pierce fan for sure. There is an excellent soundtrack to the movie - a lot of great bands - some that I actually wrote down and plan to check out. It was a lot more polished than anything I had seen in Sundance - it looked and felt like a real movie. The woman next to me went thru a box of tissues - it's pretty emotional but I left the theater feeling hopeful as opposed to sad. If it comes out in theaters I think it will do really well.
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Too many discrepancies to carry the plot
pegicardstark17 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the excellent cast and an interesting idea, this movie was difficult to sit through. Many have mentioned the problem of a camera on a remote road that provided a security tape for the mother to watch, but that was just one problem in a movie full of them.

One small problem was the button-down father as a math professor. While there may be someone out there who teaches math and pays so much attention to his grooming, I certainly never met them while I was in school.

This professor is also somehow able to afford not just a 4500 sf house in NY, with a maid, but also a beach house, right on the beach. Maybe he made some good investments and maybe he had some huge inheritance, but most professors just aren't that well-to-do.

Ryan, the brother, and his drug problem seemed a little too easy. He was addicted, suddenly decided to get clean with no help except his mother's drug tests. This while his mother is so out of it that she can't even shop without having a meltdown. And he keeps a stash hidden under his bed while getting clean on his own. Just a little unlikely.

Where I really had trouble was the seasonality. The movie was set in New York, with a baby due in February. Yet 119 days before the baby is due, which would be October, the family is at the beach house on a weekend and they swim. In bikinis and swim trunks.

When the baby is born, in February, in New York, the heaviest outerwear worn is a trench coat. No hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters. Just a trench coat. With very brilliant green leaves on all the trees.

We are also expected to believe that two teens who make it to 18 without sex, have sex with each other the first day they talk to one another. They were both in love with each other for 4 years before talking, and fell right into bed.

All the great acting in the world isn't good enough to overcome the discrepancies that kept popping up in this movie.
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sue toth6 August 2010
I've been wanting to see this movie for a long time & finally had the opportunity after it's release on DVD. It was definitely worth the wait, if only for the amazing performances. Pierce Brosnan was incredible, especially in the scene in the back of the car. Every emotion could be read on his face - no words needed. Carey Mulligan was wonderful too - she deserves all the acclaim she's been getting. I was afraid it would be too emotionally devastating as I've lost a son as well, but although I was touched deeply, I was also left with a sense of hope. I'm only sorry that it didn't open in theaters across the country so more people would have had a chance to see it. Don't be afraid of the subject matter, go out & rent it (but have a box of Kleenex handy).
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Powerful story of family grief.
wmjaho19 January 2009
Anyone that has ever lost a child has plumbed the depths of grief. And while numerous movies have tried to depict that paralyzing depression, most fall well short of the mark. (I recall In the Bedroom from Sundance 2001, starring Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marissa Tomei—it was good, but couldn't fully expose the raw nerve laid bare with the passing of a child.)

The Greatest provides a powerful glimpse into the depths of a family's grief. Writer-Director Shana Feste delivers a finely-honed script and very capable direction to give the actors plenty of room to deal with their emotional burdens while still keeping the story moving along. One reason is the deft interlacing of the backstory that led to 18-year-old Bennett Brewer's death—a violent collision while his car sat in the middle of the road and he spoke fervently to Rose (British actress Carey Mulligan). Bennett's parents, played by Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon, find Rose thrust into their lives, and along with brother Sean (Miles Robbins—son of Sarandon and Tim Robbins) they all deal with their loss.

While the script is tight, the acting is even better. Brosnan gives the performance of his life as the mathematics professor who is emotionally devastated but can't let it out. And Sarandon is equally impressive as the obsessive mother whose grief is pushing the borders of her sanity. But the real find may be Mulligan, who has an Audrey Tautou (Amelie) innocent vibrancy that declares a star is born.

As one might expect, this is an emotionally wrenching movie, but not an entirely depressing one. There is a message of hope, even though it might come in a package too conveniently wrapped and delivered. And while its theme may be a problem at the box office, those that take it in will be rewarded for their investment.

Sundance Moment: Director Feste told the audience she wrote the script while she was a nanny. Sarandon said she didn't like seeing the movie, but never revealed why. Perhaps because it dealt so vividly with a painful subject. But maybe because the movie made her look old, haggard and an emotional wreck. Props to her for taking the role.
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The son's room
dbdumonteil10 May 2012
Except for the baby ,the movie will remind Italian cinema buffs of "La Stanza DeL Figlio" and the part of Ryan is close to Conrad the young brother of "ordinary people" ;like in the contemporary "rabbit hole" each of the parents desperately searches for solace:the mother tries to talk to the other injured driver to know the last words of her son (whereas Nicole Kidman,fascinated by a comic ,wants to believe that in parallel universes ,her son is happy);the father tries to live again,goes to the movie theater with the pregnant girlfriend,attends the echography whereas his wife quickly leaves the room "if you lose your dog,we're not given a puppy!" The cast is excellent ,particularly Pierce Brosnan,cast against type :he and his younger son seem to have overcome the pain,but when they finally break down,their despair and their tears are deeply moving.The flashbacks are short and effective ,particularly the last one which is also the end of the movie and which is not a goodbye but a hello.
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Ordinary people
jotix10019 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The death of Bennett Brewer, a popular teenager is at the center of this story. We watch as he and his girlfriend Rose are making love. Taking her back home, Bennett makes a tactical mistake in stopping in the middle of a road to declare how much he loves her and how deeply he has fallen in love for her. Unfortunately, it is at this moment when a truck comes out of nowhere, crashing against the car. Bennett is killed after staying alive for seventeen minutes.

We watch the distraught parents at the grave site. Rose, with an arm on a sling, comes to the funeral, but she stays out of the picture. Going home, in the limo, we see Grace and Allen Brewer with their other son, Ryan, sitting in stone silence. Never do we see these people comforting one another, much less talk about the tragedy that is changing their lives forever.

Speed forward to three months after Bennett's death, when a pregnant Rose shows up at the Brewers. Mysteriously, this teenager has no one in the world, or so it appears. Later on, we learn she has a mother somewhere. Allen is sympathetic to what Rose is experiencing. Grace, on the other hand, wishes this intruder could be the one that had died, not her beloved Bennett.

The problem with "The Greatest" lays in the way the screenplay by Shana Feste, who also directed, does not make too much sense. One can make excuses for certain liberties most filmmakers take, but it is inconceivable the situation caused when Rose decide to crash with her would be in-laws, and better yet, that they went along with taking this stranger they knew nothing about into their midst. There are things that have been presented in a better way in films on this subject.

Susan Sarandon is asked to do another one of her bereaved mothers trying to cope with a big loss, something we have already seen her do, to much better results, one must add. Pierce Brosnan, whose company produced the film, and is listed as one of the people responsible for the film, shows a much vulnerable side. His Allen is carrying a lot of guilt inside him because of his involvement with a colleague. Carry Mulligan, impressive in other films where she has appeared, does not elicit the viewer's sympathy, perhaps because of the way Ms. Feste conceived her character, or the direction given to her. Michael Shannon, an interesting actor, shows up in a small role toward the end.
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"The Greatest". An Emotional story of Love and Family
TeddyStockholm13 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
i am writing this review right after viewing the movie. this movie is about a family and a teenage girl grieving the loss of their beloved son and boyfriend. the loss gets together the young girl and the broken family. this is a beautiful and emotional story mixed with a great set of cast.

throughout the movie you are shown memories from the relationship between this young girl and this boy. an intriguing love story that surely made their mark in my heart. this is truly on of the best love story's ever, alongside with a perfect drama story of a broken mother and a father living in denial of his sons death, and their other son with mentally problems and a drug addictions.

this movie with its outstanding performances from Pierce Brosnan, Carey Mulligan and especially Susan Sarandon and its story will truly make you emotional, i can admit that there were a few tears on my cheeks during the movie.

i strongly recommend this movie, it will make you change the way you see things, you will understand the true meaning of family and love.

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An Unexpected Journey
cheers-230 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I am house/pet sitting for my parents and since there is absolutely nothing else to do way out here in the boondocks, I usually rent Pay-Per-View movies when I am here. They have quite a selection with Time Warner, much better than what we get with Dish. Anyway, I had the hardest time deciding on what to watch. I don't watch many movies anymore either because I do not have the attention span when around the kids and/or because just about everything out of Hollywood has been crap for the past few years. Tonight I chose a movie which was not crap. It was actually remarkably good. It is called, The Greatest.

Starring Susan Sarandon, Pierce Brosnan and Carey Mulligan, The Greatest is the exact kind of drama I was looking for. I had never heard of it before today, but my gut told me to rent it...and rent it I did. I felt like watching a good crier. Boy was it. I teared up countless times throughout the entire movie. It was heartbreaking yet was so very real but a reality one never wants to endure...and the acting, I forgot who I was watching. Just fantastic.

It is difficult to write a review when you desperately do not want to reveal any spoilers. I will say this movie's basic plot is about a grieving family. A couple and their son must go through the horrible tragedy of losing their 18 year old son and brother. The boy also leaves behind a young woman he has deeply loved from afar for years. After his death, the family learns of her being pregnant and they take her in during the deepest moments of their grief. The roller coaster of emotion, the differences in is all so natural. The entire film flowed beautifully. Just pure human.

In the beginning, Susan Sarandon's character as the mother, wakes from a seemingly peaceful sleep only to wake to the sound of the alarm having to remember all over again that her heart is broken. As soon as her mind is aware of her reality, she breaks down in gut wrenching agony. I always felt that one of the worst parts of loss is that whole part of having to remember it each and every time you wake up. It makes you not want to fall asleep at all. The father, played brilliantly by Pierce Brosnan, avoided these bursts of emotion by not sleeping, not feeling, not talking – very pragmatic and simply going through the motions of his daily life. The son, feeling invisible has his own struggles in coming to terms with a brother who he wished he had hated...then, maybe it wouldn't hurt as badly.

The young woman, Carey Mulligan – she is just gorgeous, comes into their lives completely unexpectedly. And her presence and the soon to be presence of the grandchild forces one parent to finally grieve and the other to finally begin to live again.

The words and the emotions displayed on screen were almost tangible and even recognizable. It was a reminder of not only how short life can be, but also how many different forms of love there are in this journey through life. We can love from miles away without a spoken word. We can love our children as though we need them to breathe. We can love our spouse like no one else can understand...through troubles and errors, with age and tragedy that one person can still be your right arm. There are no two loves a like. And because of that there are no two deaths alike. We will each grieve a loss in a different way. But we all experience these phases in life and there truly is no way around it. We will all have a loss which will leave us empty and hollow. We will all love another person more than what feels safe. And we will all have to pick ourselves up again regardless of what knocked us down.

The Greatest was a great surprise. I liked it so much more than I expected. From now gut gets to pick the flick.
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This Painful Experience is Worth Going Through
FilmRap11 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Almost immediately after the movie opens you realize that this is a story about the painful grieving of a family. While in this case it is about the kind of grief most people should not have to experience, it touches upon emotions that everyone has either had or knows that that they can have tomorrow. The writer and first time director Shana Feste shared with us that she probably wrote this because her father had such a loss many years ago and only spoke once to her about it. She researched the subject and her own emotions quite well. She was able to get Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon to buy into this project and bring their maturity and great acting to this film. Then Ms. Fester and her duo of women producers Lynette Howell and Beau Marie St. Clair were able to find young Carey Mulligan, before she received her Oscar nomination for An Education, to play the centerpiece of the young woman who carried within her the essence of this film. All three stars brought to the screen a very palpable realism in their different but yet very appealing characters, each of whom drew you in as you felt their pain. A trio of three young talented actors rounded out the outstanding cast. The movie has the haunting presence of what we recall from the 1980 Oscar winning film Ordinary People which incidentally had the same Director of Photography, John Bailey. Whereas the older classic showed the disintegration of a family, this one leaves you with the possibility of a rebirth. The experience is definitely worth going through.
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The tearjerker is back, and better than ever!
CountShylock24 January 2009
Subtlety reigns supreme in this delicate yet confident debut from writer/director Shana Feste. The entire cast delivers nuanced performances. Brosnan's steady, buttoned-up turn as the father of a recently deceased child, is capped off by an emotional explosion that could rival any actual explosion from the actor's Bond days. Newcomer Carey Mulligan surprises as the warm epicenter of this otherwise (realistically) grim journey into familial grief. "The Greatest" is the most recent film (after 2002's "Far From Heaven") to carry on the tradition of teary family dramas (from "Imitation of Life" through "Ordinary People" and "Terms of Endearment"). Feste isn't afraid to let the camera linger on the Brewer family (including spot-on performances by Susan Sarandon and Johnny Simmons, as well as the aforementioned tour-de- force by Brosnan) as they struggle to cope with the death of their "all-around good guy" son. What results is a film with a maturity and patience that is far beyond what should be coming from a first time director. I was impressed. I welcome Feste reclaiming the tearjerker. I didn't realize how sorely I missed movies about actual people dealing with actual problems, fighting against and submitting to actual emotions. If you're looking for a (genuinely earned) good cry, "The Greatest" is for you.
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movieoooo19 January 2009
Well if the only goal was to make old ladies in the audience cry then mission succeeded.

This film is simply not that good. It isn't entertaining to watch, the characters don't make us want to now more about them. There is little to no tension as the story develops.

Also S. Sarandon is terrible. Its like she just showed up on set, read her lines from a card and left. Its a shame because Brosnan is quite good. Although even if she had done a good job I'm not sure the film could be saved.

The cinematography is fine, but not amazing. The new jersey shots look different that the new york shots, almost like they are different movies. Other than that the film looks OK.

I wouldn't waste my time on this one.
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The Horriblest
operdoc4 November 2013
Wow! Where to begin. A truly horrible screenplay. You could use an electron microscope and not fine one true moment, one true piece of dialogue in this movie. How did this movie ever get green lighted? How did three fine actors sign on to act in this movie once they'd read this piece of trash screenplay?

Truly horrible direction from the very beginning. The scene in the limo coming back from the cemetery is stomach turning in its banality, in its falseness. I felt like Susan Sarandon looked away from the camera because she couldn't stand being in the scene. Every camera shot seems wrong. Close ups when they're should be medium shots etc. etc.

Terrible acting. Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan must be truly ashamed to have been in this movie. Carrie Mulligan rises above some of the wretchedness, but even she becomes bogged down in the horror toward the end.

How exactly does Hollywood work that a piece of crap like this can be made, that millions of dollars can be spent on trash? No wonder that the studios are in such a state of disrepair.

I watched this movie mostly to see Carrie Mulligan. She's a special actress with an incredibly expressive face. Sorry that she made the decision to be in it. It tarnishes her resume.

Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
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Don't Bother
sg_projects7 January 2011
Acknowledged that this film doesn't make you press stop/eject (or get up and leave the theater) but please take a random plug at the rest of the offerings out there and you'll be more satisfied.

Decent acting but with the exception of a couple of scenes it mostly stops there...

For those who voted higher than 5 out of 10, you have really lost your mind!!

With Pierce and Susan on board, all in all, a real disappointment for a theme that many might have appreciated and could have worked.

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Exceptional performances made this film a delight to watch
sarasusanfold30 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Pierce Brosnan was at his best. Carey Mulligan and Johnny Simmons are revelations. Susan Sarandon was raw and real.

The film is about parents, played by Brosnan and Sarandon, that lose their son in a car accident. Three months later a girl shows up on their doorstep and announces that she is pregnant with their sons baby. The audience literally gasped aloud! But not as loud as the heartbreaking car accident which happens a few minutes into the film.

I loved this film. Heartbreaking, with moments of levity, I was incredibly moved at the end - as were my family members. One of my favorites at Sundance.
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Mundane and annoying
banzanbon28 May 2011
First and foremost, Susan Sarandon has played this part before; many times and she never ceases to bore me. Pierce Brosnan is wonderful. He's the best thing in the movie. Carrie Mulligan's character is easy and not something that required much effort. The younger son's character is vapid and so is the character of the chick who befriends him in grief counseling. And finally, one never totally given real proof of the relationship between the character of Jennifer Ehle and Brosnan. It's vagueness is so just wants to say: "Oh for crying out loud...stop the sentimental innuendo and just lay it out there." The story is so mundane and throw-away, one almost wonders why they bothered to make this gushy and schmaltzy film anyhow. The whole thing is as if no one has ever lost kids before and no set of parents have EVER grieved the death of their child.
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Moving and thoughtful film
Sally George25 January 2009
I was so moved by this film. It touched on so many elements of grief and loss. The story is a simple one, but the writing is so elegant and intelligent that I never felt as if I was being manipulated or patronized. A feeling I sometimes get from films with such intense emotional content.

The film was directed so well... and knowing that this is Shana Feste's directorial debut makes it all the more impressive. She was able to capture such amazing performances from all the actors. Performances that never hit too hard, but still would engage almost any audience. All of the actors were pitch perfect.

I look forward to this film being released. I'd like to see it again.
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Fantastic film
jennyjenp25 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This film is what film-making is all about...... I cried through a lot of it, and found myself laughing through some of my tears. As in real life. The human condition is so fragile and Ms. Feste captured it in so many rare and beautiful moments. It is a sad film, but it is not heavy; it leaves you with a feeling of hope. Death, esp death of a young person, is a tough subject to tackle. Death of a child, a near impossible subject to tackle b/c in life it is a near impossible subject to deal with. There is no precedent. How she was able to capture the feelings and emotions of this horrible situation so tenderly and genuinely is a true work of art. I thought the casting was perfect. The lead girl lights up the screen every time she appeared. Pierce Brosnan appears in a way we have never seen him, his role as father rang so true in my heart as I watched that I had a hard time remembering it was a film., All in all, this was my favorite film at Sundance. It moved me. It surprised me. It made me laugh. The choice for music was on point. I am impressed and inspired by this first time director. What a lovely gorgeous film.
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