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

Annie
The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corpora

posted 5:59:13pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Fans of the first two "Night at the Museum" films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibi

posted 5:23:46pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Listen to People's Lives: David Plotz's Working Podcast
Former Slate editor David Plotz, now at Atlas Obscura, says that he is a big fan of Studs Terkel's classic book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He has paid tribute to that great work in the best possible way, by updating it with his podcast seri

posted 3:59:23pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Little Orphan Annie: From Comic Strip to Radio, Broadway, Television, and Two Movies
The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray.  Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience cau

posted 8:00:48am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

A Trailer for A Movie You'll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna
"Moonquake Lake" has a lot of star power behind it -- "LEGO Movie" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks....intriguing, some sort of "Twilight"-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn't real. "Moonquake Lake" is a movie with

posted 3:54:43pm Dec. 17, 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.