Amazon Holiday

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Q: What’s the movie about?

A: When a Marine (Tobey Maguire) goes to war and dies, his brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes over his role as husband to his wife (Natalie Portman). There's only one problem with their new arrangement: the Marine is still alive.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Bailee Madison, Taylor Geare, Sam Shepard, Mare Winningham, Patrick Flueger, Clifton Collins Jr., Carey Mulligan, Omid Abtahi, Ethan Suplee, Jenny Wade

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. This is a really poignant and empathetic concept, as well as a visceral depiction of post-war trauma, but it could have been doubly hard hitting if the relationship between the wife and the brother had gone further, and they didn't show us that the Marine wasn't really dead.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Jake Gyllenhaal's character is pretty witty, even in the most absurd of circumstances, and an elephant has big ears.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: If you do, it will also be because an elephant has big ears, which is really obvious to a person who is in any way mentally stable.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: Tobey Maguire obviously took this role with awards consideration in mind, and while his "work" is visible (maybe even a little too visible), he gets acted out of the water by 10-year-old, Bailee Madison. That's who I would love to see get an acting nomination.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Jake Gyllenhaal was more interesting than I remembered him being as an actor. But the parts that really make you think, in this one, are the supporting roles. Bailee Madison, as mentioned above, cries repeatedly and believably on cue. Taylor Geare, who's young enough to still have most of her baby teeth, looks and acts like a leading lady in the making. Jenny Wade, with only one small scene, makes a valuable impression on the family and on the film. And Patrick Flueger, whom I know but have never seen act before, does such believable work as a prisoner of war, that I was sucked into his performance to the point of actually forgetting that I knew him. And if you've ever watched anyone you know do any acting, you know that's really saying something.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Jim Sheridan is an old pro, but if I hadn't known it was his work, I wouldn't have had any way of knowing that this director had more than a couple of films under his belt. Nothing in the directing stands out as being particularly outstanding. Although I was impressed with the entire cast and crew for braving so many freezing cold looking scenes outdoors in the snow... unless those scenes were shot on a sound-stage, in which case Sheridan did a very convincing job of selling the desolate winter.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: I wish they had gone the distance with the power of the premise, and led us to believe that the Marine was dead, so that when he returned, it would have been a surprised twist that we, the audience, could have been as confused and confounded by as the characters were supposed to be. We would have been emotionally involved in the characters' inner conflict on a much more profound level if they had. And I know we need to see what happened to the Marine in Afghanistan, but they could have found other ways to do it later in the film, after the reveal-- like in a flashback. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of flashbacks, and they're hard to get past studio executives, but if ever there was an appropriate time for one, this was it.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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