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

Guardians of the Galaxy
The summer movie you've been waiting for has arrived, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. It has been a while since we've had a charming rogue with a ba

posted 5:59:33pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Get on Up
There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with vari

posted 5:59:21pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Magic in the Moonlight
Woody Allen's 44th film is an amuse bouche without a meal, a dollop of whipped cream without the dessert underneath.  In last year's film, "Blue Jasmine," the strength of the performances (especially Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett) and the resonance of its Bernie Madoff-ish crossed with "Streetcar Nam

posted 5:58:31pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Behind the Scenes on "Calvary"
Brendan Gleeson gives a magnificent performance as a warm-hearted priest in a sad and damaged world in "Calvary," opening next week across the country.  Here's an exclusive peek behind the scenes, featuring Gleeson and Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies Sister Rose Pacatte. [iframe

posted 3:45:01pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Tonight: The Last of Our Pre-Code Series, Jean Harlow in "Red Headed Woman"
Tonight is the last of the Pre-Code films Margaret Talbot and I will be presenting at Washington D.C.'s Hill Center.  And it's a doozy, Jean Harlow in "Red Headed Woman."  We'd love to see you there. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATDif96J5Ms[/youtube] Margaret and I will be back a

posted 3:37:33pm Jul. 31, 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.