Genres: Drama, Remake and War
Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.
Release Date: December 4th, 2009 (limited)
MPAA Rating:R for language and some disturbing violent content.
Directed by: Jim Sheridan
JJ Rating: A+
Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) is very good at his job, but his job is in the Marines. His family loves him. But there love cannot keep him from being deployed again. Grace Cahill (Natalie Portman) is his wife. She gets the door knock that tells her that Sam is dead. Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) the jailed brother steps in to help with the kids and a connection is made but then the unexpected happens…Sam’s not dead. Brothers.
I like to look at RottenTomatoes.com to see how they like movies. I don’t really take what they have to say to heart because I don’t really read what they have to say. I look at the percentages. As long as there is a 25% or above there is a marginal probability that I’ll like it. I have seen a film that they have given below 25% and it was bad. I do not often agree with them. It is fun to just look and see. They gave Brothers about 57%.
I was sacred that the trailer revealed too much of the film and that I saw everything that I needed to see. That was not the case. It revealed the right amount and what they left out of the trailer was powerful and heartbreaking. There have been two films in the recent past that have had me emotionally twisted like this one and they were The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas and Kite Runner. Oddly they both had wars in them as well. They also both deal with two male leads that have conflict. Men are different than women on levels that even gay guys know as true. Brothers, if you have them, might be your hell on Earth or they might be the inspiration that fuels your very soul…or really, like most, somewhere in between, but a brother loves a brother no matter how good or bad he may be. If you don’t have that great relationship, you want it. If you have it, you love it. Put that in a story and do it well and you’ll get males at their very hard to hit heart. Also that can be true with friendships with other males that bring them in close like a brother; such as with "Band of Brothers". Also this is the reason why Brian’s Song is one of the top ok to cry male movies; a friend like a brother goes through trouble but loyalty shines through and toughs out the pain of the greatest loss…a true friend.
The acting is so good. I was freaked out and in awe watching Toby Maguire lose it while looking paler than any vampire from Twilight. He scared me because of his great acting and because he’s portraying men who exist and wives lose them twice and children lose their hero. He gradually shifted throughout the film. Even though I knew that that was going to happen it was painful to watch. If Maguire doesn’t get recognition from his peers and industry via an award, it’ll be one of the biggest oversights in movie history. (Take note: I said one and not THE. I’m still embittered over Doubt.) His acting was so awesome that I didn’t even remember he was Peter Parker. Every time I think of that Brothers Maguire’s hollow stare is glaring so helplessly back. I can’t even talk about this movie without feeling emotional. Jake Gyllenhaal was good as the brother who was angry for not being appreciated for himself instead of being compared to his brother. He acted so smoothly, so coolly, so brotherly. It was clam and well mannered even when he was angry. Natalie Portman was also smooth in her acting. She and Gyllenhaal were good because it didn’t look like acting. It looked like a wife and a brother reacting to the situation that they were in with Maguire. I’m hard press to state that it was magical or fantastical because that makes it sound like it was a pleasant situation. The story was not, but the acting sure the hell was. Mare Winningham plays the stepmother to Gyllenhaal and Maguire and she has that mother quality about her that’s so comforting. She has that caring style. I just wanted to give her a hug every time she came in a scene.
I liked every single scene in this film, but the dinner scene stands out the most. It irritated me the most. It bugged the hell out of me. I have no patience with annoying children, especially when the obnoxious child is a female. Males will give attitude and whatevers, but girls are snide and vicious and undermining. Every single film that has an eldest daughter they seem to be the one that mouths off the most (when the daughters are under the age of 17 in the story). And even though I understood the eldest daughter’s annoyance with the situation, she was still a total brat that if someone slapped her it would be justified but totally wrong for the film itself. Even so I think both Baile Madison and Taylor Geare did a fantastic job as the daughters. Geare as the younger was cute, adorable and perceptive with a bit of aloofness. Madison as the elder was strong willed, angry, loveable and powerful. They both held their moments and used what they had to gain memory in this film.
There are so many scenes in Brothers that shred the heart, even when the heart seems not to be able to be shredded any more. Broken from the moment two military officials stand at the door to the end scene as it fades, the heart never puts itself totally back together again. Quite possibly how the characters feel in the film, that nothing will be the same. Brothers is good. It’s dark in a hellish manner that gives raw emotions a moment to shine and cower and beg, subtly, for unconditional love and forgiveness. The unfairness of war and how people treat others is part of this film and something that will haunt many viewers no matter if they like Brothers or not. I would suggest people to see it not because I think they’ll think it is as great as I believe it to be, but because the story will get to you and it’ll make you think, “What would I have done?” Sadly there are some people who’ll ask, “What will I do?” And to those people I send out my empathy and my partial understanding. Sometimes movies are powerful enough to elicit such and though Brothers is a remake it is powerful enough to stand alone from such a dark shadow as a truly great film.