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The Greatest (2009)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 56
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 27

It's burdened by a predictable, overly melodramatic story, but The Greatest benefits from strong performances by its talented cast.


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 16

It's burdened by a predictable, overly melodramatic story, but The Greatest benefits from strong performances by its talented cast.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 5,839

My Rating

Movie Info

Tragedy opens the wounds a family has long struggled to ignore in this powerful emotional drama. Bennett Brewer (Aaron Johnson) was a bright, handsome, and talented young man who was suddenly killed in an auto accident late one night while driving home with Rose (Carey Mulligan), a girl who had been a close friend for years but had only recently become romantically involved with him. Bennett's death devastates his family: his mother, Grace (Susan Sarandon), is overcome with grief and can't stop



Shana Feste

Jul 13, 2010


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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (27)

The real surprise is Brosnan's silent, agonized performance; his post-007 career has been one long campaign to prove he's got the goods.

January 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Overwrought in all the wrong ways, The Greatest doesn't do its normally excellent cast any favors.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A meditation on loss by a writer-director whose honesty, sensitivity and intelligence more than mitigate the film's histrionic qualities.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sarandon and Brosnan are very good, indeed, Brosnan surprisingly so. In fact, Brosnan has never been so opened up, so emotional and yet so precise in his work. It's a lovely performance in a film that only sometimes deserves him.

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though it sometimes feels more like a collection of scenes than a complete story, some moments are so raw and insightful that they feel like a punch to the heart.

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What makes The Greatest work so well is that Feste clearly remembers what it's like to be 18 and to believe your one chance at joy has passed you by.

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although Feste delivers a well-acted, competently directed film with The Greatest, it ultimately lacks the originality that could lift it out of the fog.

August 11, 2010 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

...a passable debut from a relatively promising director...

July 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Even if you want more from a film than a depiction of reality, you'll still appreciate the stars' performances. But you'll find yourself thinking it could have been so much better if rendering grief effectively didn't seem like the only goal.

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

First-time writer-director Shana Feste has made a wise, insightful movie about family, grief, and how awful and how wonderful it is to discover that life goes on after someone you love dies.

July 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

The title is incorrect.

June 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Weekly
Philadelphia Weekly

Yet another film that tries to pass off a whole lot of screaming and crying as great acting. This fails especially in Brosnan's big crying scene, in which he audibly squeaks

April 18, 2010
The Trend

Two gifted young women whose best work will be in other films are the reason to see this one.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Beliefnet

Perhaps the best compliment to give it is that it never comes off as a weepy Lifetime movie. The acting and writing are too good to let that happen.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source:

It could more appropriately be known as just Good with Brief Moments of Absolute Brilliance.

April 12, 2010 Full Review Source:

Redeemed by its performances, its sporadic, carefully observed moments of truth, and the fact that Feste knows from good drama. The Greatest may be cheesy, but it ain't amateur hour.

April 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

A well-performed tearjerker of the kind that mostly transcends its melodramatic set-up to become something genuinely moving.

April 9, 2010 Full Review Source:

The Greatest isn't even the best recent movie that stars Susan Sarandon as a woman trying to deal with the death of a child while forced into an awkward relationship with the main squeeze of the dead kid.

April 9, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

I wish I could say there was a moment in The Greatest that surprised me, but there wasn't.

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Audience Reviews for The Greatest

This drama film is about grief and the different ways it can affect people, it was very good. I believe this is a depressing tale that forlornly tries to uplift during its final moments, but never escapes the shackles of its distressing storyline. The performances, including Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, are universally wonderful, but the relentless dour tone makes The Greatest an easy film to admire, but a hard one to truly enjoy.
July 10, 2011
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

This was an over-dramatic, over-emotional and an overdone movie in almost all respects. The grieving of the parents for their dead son left no emotional impact, and so was the case with the dead guy's pregnant girlfriend and his brother. However, the execution was such that it almost brought me on the brink of weeping. I'd also like to clarify that I came on the verge of weeping due to the sheer boredom and not due to the effect generated by any of the scenes. The characters were so lame that it left no scope for good performance, so I can't comment on anyone's performance here.
March 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

A glorious, unforgettable and love-filled gem of a movie. A heart-wrenching, deeply moving and astonishing film that takes your breath away. A triumph that fills your soul with hope and love. One of those cherished and remarkable films that you will just have to see. The performances are all extraordinary, some of the deepest and most effective acting you will see in a while. Pierce Brosnan is absolutely magnificent, he gives an affectionate, open and beautiful performance. Susan Sarandon gives a brilliant and heartbreaking performance. Carey Mulligan gives a wonderful and tremendous performance just showing more of why she is a born star. A gorgeous and outstanding movie.
February 18, 2011

Super Reviewer

The Greatest starts well but soon descends into a muddle of bad acting, awkward script and messy story-line. Some scenes are great though, Shana Feste lets the camera roll a little longer to great effect and overall, the editing is quite good. Ultimately the film is let down by the awful performances but then it is quite mis-cast. I can't stand Carey Mulligan to be honest and I'm not sure what all the fuss regarding her is all about. This film is not the greatest!
January 4, 2011

Super Reviewer

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