A New-England couple’s college-aged son dates an older woman with two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband. Then something terrible occurs in this wrenching emotional drama.
Directed by Todd Field
Written by Robert Festinger and Todd Field
Starring Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek and Nick Stahl
Released 25th January 2002
Run Time 130 minutes
This is a powerful and moving drama. The performances are excellent, and its cinematically beautiful. Some of the most powerful moments in the film are implied, and executed out of shot; it almost plays on the idea that its not what you see, its what you don’t thats important. The key part of the film, the shooting, is shocking and completely unexpected. It leaves the audience almost as numb as the characters which is a very clever technique. I can only speak for myself, but I was left in a state of disbelief and numbness for the death of a character whom I initially assumed would be the protagonist of the whole film.
When the film begins, its all about Frank and his relationship with an older woman, which lulls you into believing the whole film will be about them. Suddenly it completely flips; Frank is killed and we’re left watching the grief and suffering of his parents unfold. For me this technique made the empathy I felt for Frank’s grieving parents even stronger. Taking away the omniscience of the audience sometimes doesn’t work, but in this instance, finding something out at the same time the characters do is very effective.
This is well worth watching, its powerful, moving and ultimately very well shot. The characters are developed and deep, the story is well written and its a very good drama.