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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.Read more ›
The problem is the portrayal of Bennett, whom we see only briefly before the accident that takes his life. More a metaphor for all that is good with untapped, unlimited potential, he never comes off as an actual flesh-and-blood individual. Since the accident is largely his responsibility, it's tough to get on board with his parents' grief. There are also some jarring moments when dialogue or actions seem really off and undermine the tone of the movie.
Movies about grieving are tough sells. On the surface, they are depressing and put off many people. It's the handling of the theme that determines whether audiences will embrace such a movie. Think "Ordinary People:" solid script, superb direction, first-rate performances. "The Greatest" falls far short of that high standard. Bonus extras include interviews with the director, Pierce Brosnan and Carey Mulligan, and deleted scenes.
The chemistry is exceptional, Pierce Brosnan (suppressed father Allen) is prodigious in his role of steadily degrading stoicism. Susan Sarandon (bereaved mother Grace) does insanity and loss with unrivaled panache. The two sons display perfection and realism, but the real star of this amazing drama is the newcomer, Carey Mulligan as "Rose." The viewer is captivated by her elfin beauty, desperate hopes, appealingly powerful, and delicate presence.
This family's drama echoes hauntingly dramatic, yet familiar tones. It is so well put together, that it just pierces you directly in the heart, like a syringe of adrenaline... where you find yourself gasping in the powerful breath of life emerging once again. Director Shana Feste is absolutely extraordinary, as I understand this movie was made in an unbelievably short window of time---signifying perfection in each scene and continual movement forward.Read more ›
Three months later, Rose arrives at Bennett's house and is greeted by his father, Allen (Pierce Brosnan). The Bennett's epitomize a family torn apart by grief - mom Grace (Susan Sarandon) appears totally overwhelmed by grief to the point that she acts irrationally; Allen puts on a calm appearance although deep inside, he struggles to come to terms with his son's death and the strain it places on his marriage and his younger son; younger son Ryan (Johnny Simmons) is a druggie who attends support meetings but detached, feeling a sense of resentment towards his dead brother who was the favored child and who even in death seems to hog all the attention. Rose finds herself in a conundrum - she is pregnant with Bennett's child and has nowhere to go. Allen warms to her immediately and takes her in, but Grace is mistrusting and unwilling to welcome the young woman.
The story flows well and the various characters credibly portray their grief and the process of healing, even though in the case of Grace it takes a long time for her to accept that her favorite son is dead.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very enjoyable movie. Well acted. Good story line. It's a keeper for me.Published 2 months ago by krinney
Great movie. Everyone who has lost someone should find this helpfulPublished 8 months ago by Ed Gardner
Very nice film with some great actors about a painful set of circumstances that most of us can only imagine. Quiet, dramatic, but very well-acted. A pleasure to watch.Published 17 months ago by Lex Madera
Only because of Pierce Brosnan.. He is a great actor.. I have watgched him in so many movies. You'll love itPublished 20 months ago by nancy
Cary Mulligan at her best with good story line and acting by Pierce Brosnan. Realistic story line with typical American life style and expectations.Published 22 months ago by Louw van Wyk