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Three months after Allen (Pierce Brosnan) and Grace’s (Susan Sarandon) son dies, Rose (Carey Mulligan) shows up on their doorstep pregnant with his child. At first her arrival stirs up their emotions and threatens to tear the family further apart, but as time passes, she may just be the very thing that brings them back together.
Interviews with director Shana Feste, Pierce Brosnan, Carey Mulligan and Johnny Simmons
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.Read more ›
"The Greatest" stars Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon as Allen and Grace Brewer, a grief-stricken couple whose family has been pushed to the breaking point by the accidental death of their eldest son, Bennett. When a young woman, Rose (Carey Mulligan, "An Education"), shows up a few months later announcing that she's pregnant with Bennett's child, the Brewers are forced to explore the depths of their empathy. Both Brosnan and Sarandon turn in believable performances. Brosnan in particular is really strong here. I've never seen him so open and so emotional before.
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.
This movie is intense, portraying a jagged, yet purifying emotional journey involving a sudden, brutal car accident, resulting in the death of favored son (Bennett), cameo role for Aaron Johnson. The shocking, unexplainable loss is complicated by the unexpected pregnancy of Bennett's true love, (Rose) with a stunning performance by Carey Mulligan. Rose and Bennnett's unspoken love is finally consumated, by these perfectly matched quiet, soulful characters...explosively mangled by devastation, jolting all the intimate characters into a dysfunctional, rag tag family. Rose has no where to go and ends up with Grace, Allen, and the younger, troubled brother (Ryan) Johnny Simmons. Everyone has their individual and collective demons, unhealthy diversions, and another unavoidable collision course with truth and acceptance.
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 ›
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This movie exceeded my expectations as I had initially pegged it as a predictable tearjerker based on the plot. The leads in the form of Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, and the divine Carey Mulligan deliver credible and compelling performances that made this an engaging human drama. The prevalent theme in this movie is grief and coming to terms with loss - Bennett Brewer (Aaron Johnson) is a popular student at his high school but deep down he is shy around girls and waits till the last day of school to ask Rose (Carey Mulligan) out. The two hit it off and fall head over heels in love. Bennett chooses an inopportune moment to declare his love to Rose, and tragedy strikes, killing Bennett.
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 ›
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