Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Greatest

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, some language, and drug use
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations including teen sex and adultery, teen pregnancy
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, drug abuse by a teenager
Violence/Scariness:Shocking fatal car accident, sad death, themes of grief and loss, character in coma
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:April 16, 2010

Two gifted young women whose best work will be in other films are the reason to see this one. Carey Mulligan, so enchanting in last year’s An Education, plays a pregnant teenager in “The Greatest,” written and directed by newcomer Shana Feste. Both show a great deal of promise in this sincere but uneven film.

Mulligan plays Rose, who has one perfect moment with Bennett (Aaron Johnson) before he is killed in a car accident. They were both seniors in high school who had watched each other and waited for glimpses of each other but hardly even spoken until the last day of school when finally they work up the nerve to speak to one another. And then, suddenly he is gone, and she is pregnant.

Bennett’s parents, already dealing with a lot of dysfunction, are devastated by the loss and driven apart by it, too. Allen (PIerce Brosnan), a professor of mathematics, is rational and keeps his feelings inside. Grace (Susan Sarandon), is emotional. In one shattering scene, she is in the bathtub and he hands her a bell to ring when she misses her son. She rings it immediately, insistently, harshly, making it clear that her pain is deep and permanent and cannot be confined. She is obsessed with the 17 minutes between the crash and his death. What was he thinking? What did he say? Did he suffer? But the only one who knows is the man from the other car, who is in a coma. Grace visits him, reading aloud, monitoring his care.

Rose, who has nowhere else to go, moves in with Bennett’s family. But it takes a while for each of them, grieving separately, to find a way to reconnect as a family.

Surprisingly, Feste is best with the older generation in the film. Brosnan and Sarandon are the real center of the story and their characters are the best defined and the most compelling. Johnny Simmons (“Jennifer’s Body”) and Mulligan do their best with roles that are both under- and over-written. Simmons is the younger brother, a recovering drug addict, whose primary job in the movie is to remind his parents every day that they are left with the troubled son instead of the one they were proud of. But he is stuck with a distracting sub-plot about a relationship with a girl (Zoe Kravitz) from his support group. The problem with Mulligan’s character is Feste’s view that in the midst of terrible grieving and dysfunction, the repository of all wisdom and imperishable goodness resides in a pregnant teenager with a disastrous home life but an adorable dimple. This leaves a blank space that unbalances an already-unwieldy story but leave us looking forward to seeing how Feste learns from this film do to better next time.



Previous Posts

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?
The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies," with some disturbing conclusions about parents' ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not

posted 8:00:58am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?
The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of th

posted 8:00:40am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.