Brothers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Brothers Reviews

Page 1 of 350
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2012
I can't even imagine being Sam Cahill and going through what he did. This is a powerful movie and necessarily is left unfinished.
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2011
Sam Cahill: You know what I did to get back to you? You know what I did? 

"There are two sides to every family"

I've seen Brothers twice now, and my love for it went down a little on the second watch. I noticed a few scenes that were overplayed and badly written. Still, this is a really good drama and anti-war film. It shows the effects of war on a man and how he struggles coming back to normal everyday life. There's good character development at the beginning with Sam. We see how much he loves his family and how happy he is around them. That makes his lack of openness when he comes back have a little more power. The film is powerful despite the melodrama. This is one of the few films I've seen where the melodrama doesn't take away from the power of the situation. 

The film is about a man who goes to Afghanistan and is supposedly killed. In reality, he is a prisoner of war who goes through unspeakable things. Back in America, his family is comforted by his brother. When he comes back he isn't the same man, and he also has some accusations to throw around about his brother and wife's relationship. The story is really interesting and drove by good performances from Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman. Portman gave one of the best performances here, up to that point in her career. There's something about her that makes her seem very real, and allows her to nail this performance with a great deal of believability. 

This has been criticized a lot for being overly melodramatic. I can't say that it isn't either, but I never felt the melodrama rose to a level that hurt the film. There's a lot of screaming, crying, and smashing, but the story is emotional and so are the characters. Are some scenes overwritten for a tearjerking effect? Yeah. Still, I don't think the overall power of the film was hurt by the melodrama, but that is just my opinion on the matter. That's also coming from someone who normally hates melodrama. This is one of those rare occasions where it didn't ruin a film for me.

It isn't going to win any subtlety contests, but based on the central performances and the sheer power of the story and how the events unfold before our eyes; I think it is good. Good actors doing good work in a film that is worthy of the performances. I can't say the movie is perfect, but overall it works and gets the point across.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2011
An incredibly well-acted movie. Toby Maguire, Natalie Portman, and Jake Gyllenhaal were all terrific. They took a cheesy, weak screenplay and made it believable and interesting. However, the movie suffers from overly simplistic pacing, cliche plot, and a lack of depth in the plot. Once again, great acting. It is good to note that though this movie has many many flaws, there is character development that genuinely gets us invested.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2010
Found the first half strangely unemotional (I mean, just speaking for myself, if I thought my husband had died in the war, and then he turned up, I would be in tears). But it does pick up a bit by the end. Acting is perfect. Particularly Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire.
Can't say I loved it, but it's not a preferred genre of mine to start with. Decent storyline, but probably not a must see.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2012
An insanely interesting film looking at the sociology of moving on after a loved ones death, and then moving on after discovering that wasn't true. Brilliant performances from all involved (especially the older daughter) however the ending was quite abrupt and there were some powerful scenes, however overall the film didn't engross that feeling so much.
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2012
What happens to our people in war, why do they come back so changed, so broken? This film centers on one family's ordeal when the favorite son finally returns quite different than how he left, the whys and the wherefores. Good performances fail to hide that the concept is larger than expected, larger than the film.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2011
Brothers is an excellent drama film with a great cast. The film concerns two brothers, one a Marine, and another a convict who just got out of prison for a crime. Marine Capt. Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) is sent back into active duty, and his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is forced to get his act together. Upon his brothers helicopter crash, everyone thinks he's dead. Tommy is forced to take care of Sam's wife and kids. Brothers is a wonderful film with a great story. The acting displayed by its cast is absolutely terrific, and there are some memorable performances here, Toby Maguire delivers the best performance of his career and Natalie Portman continues her streak in landing really good roles. I really think she matured greatly as an actress over the years, and if you see where she's started, and where she's at now, well you get the idea. I think she's come a long way since her role as Padmee Amidala in the Star Wars prequels, and she's phenomenal films after the trilogy. Brothers is an engaging film with a powerful story and a great cast. I thought that the film had some great moments, and I loved how Maguire's character is conflicted with coming back to civilized life and dealing with the situation with his brother. Gyllenhaal and Maguire have great chemistry. Brothers is a very good film that's worth checking out. A riveting drama film and one that has a truly good story.
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2010
A compelling drama that examines the emotional impact of war on the family of a soldier who is presumed dead in Afghanistan. The intense performances, especially by a superb Tobey Maguire, and the honest dialogue prevent it from slipping into easy melodrama.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2011
Why all the negativity, I thought it was a great film. Sam (Tobey Maguire) is a marine with a brother named Tommy (Jake Gyllenhal) who has done much jail time, but besides their fathers anger towards Tommy, Sam has always cared for him. Tommys wife Grace (Natalie Portman) never cared much for Tommy however. But when Sams is said to be dead, Tommy grows closer to Grace and Sams kids so that he can help and feel wanted. But when Sam is found after being held prisoner for months, his insanity and jealousy of Tommy and Graces new friendship might destroy everyones lives. Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhal, and Natalie Portman play very well done and dramatic roles, I thought they were Oscar worthy. The plot was interesting, dealt with serious issues, and was a great screenplay. The music was great too, but I found it a bit weird how the music keeps shifting in the film. I don't care about the reviews on this one, it was a great film.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2009
A very powerful movie about a war hero, Sam Cahill (Maguire) who goes to war and memories of it haunt him causing him to go towards insanity. A heart wrenching movie that is intense and equally sad. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of Maguire's brother wonderfully & Portman's portrayal of Maguire's wife is great as well.
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2011
Amazing movie.

It was intense and had a great storyline that kept my interest. Maguire played the traumatized war hero so well. It was a great movie. I loved it.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2011
Grade: B (85%)

Brothers, based on Susanne Bier's film "Brothers", is about a family of marines and criminals. Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire in a gut wrenching performance) is about to be sent out to Afghanistan leaving his wife Grace (Natalie Portman in one of the best performances of her career) and his two young daughters Isabelle and Maggie. But when he is presumed dead his brother Tommy (an outstanding Jake Gyllenhaal), you have come out of prison, begins to care for the family. The daughters seems to love Uncle Tommy around and so does Grace after confessing that she didn't like him in High School because he got into fights and always drunk. But they become very close and when Grace receives a phone call saying that they found her husband, their lives turn into a realm of paranoia and questionable loyalty.

Sam believes that the friendly companionship between Grace and Tommy has been sexual and begins to question each person throughout the movie. But Sam has really changed after coming back from the war. His love for his family has changed from the beginning of the film with Isabelle acting angrily with her father. At Maggie's birthday party she would make screeching noises that forces Sam to snap and pop the balloon in front of everyone. Sam's appearance has changed. The scars, that were not there in the beginning of the film, give the impression that Sam has become darker in personality.

The film is very well directed and has a good pace for a 100 minute movie. The climax of the film had me on the edge of my seat praying that all would be well. The movie also talks about soldiers coming home after viewing horrific actions that could turn a known leader into a murderer in a blink of an eye. Sam's father, who is also a marine, went through the same process after Vietnam but shows Sam having a harder time to get recover from his near death experience.

Brother's is a melodramatic ride that grips the viewers with hatred, anger, and love in 1 hour and 40 minute run time. The three lead actors give great performances and even got Tobey Maguire a Golden Globe Nomination for Actor in Leading Role. Brother's is a solid movie and should be watched.
Super Reviewer
½ December 4, 2009
A well-made, intense depiction of a family torn apart by war and the affects it has on not only the mental state of a once strong-minded soldier (Tobey Maguire), but his family at home, as well as the brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is tending to his wife (Natalie Portman) and daughters after he goes missing in Afghanistan. What could have become a full-blown, over-the-top melodrama is actually paced to perfection by a master of the drama genre. While one of director Jim Sheridan's flaws is that he cuts away too soon at times when his actors are about to show incredible emotion, what he put together with this piece is undoubtedly a success. Tobey Maguire gives his most nuanced performances yet, one that ends up being completely shattering. Natalie Portman once again demonstrates why she is an A-list actress, as she skillfully captures the troubled nature of her character and what she must live with. There are some problems with this piece, but the explosive finale, which I originally anticipated might handicap the film, ends up making it jarring and unforgettable. It is not Sheridan's most accomplished work ("In the Name of the Father" is a masterpiece, and "My Left Foot" is very, very good), but this is still a quite well done film.
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2011
Incredible. The acting from everyone in this film was some of the best I've seen in a long time. They really helped nail home the subject matter and it really affected me. The little girls in this movie are rediculously good actresses also.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2011
When the best performances come from Bailee Madison and Taylor Geare (the first-time actresses that play the young daughters) in a cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, and Sam Shepard, I think you know that you are in for one of the most uneven films of all time. I expect more from Jim Sheridan, but I never expected him to do 50 Cent's bio-film either. There seems like there are entire chunks of the movie taken out and whatever useable bits were thrown together to make this film. A real shame because it had a lot of promise.
Super Reviewer
½ August 22, 2009
A movie that sounded fake on every aspect, except Natalie Portman's character.

Plus, thanks to the trailer, I knew every freaking detail of the story.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2010
Brothers is a movie that tells the story of ayoung man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan. It is a very intense drama full of conflicts. The plot is very well developed and the story is very interesting because it reflects a problem that could happen in real life to real people. The rhythm is a little slow and sometimes you feel that the movie isn't progressing specially at the moments of war. The cast is excellent, Tobey Maguire gives us a little overacted but also very credible performance first as a loving husband and father ready to go to war and then as a mentally disturbed soldier. Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Tobey's brother is also very good changing from a irresponsible person to the man of the house taking care of his brother's wife ands children, Natalie Portman is a great actress, his performance is so convincing you can really feel her sorrow and a special mention to the two girls that performed as Maguire and Portman girls the two of them give a believable performance specially the bigger one. In conclusion, Brothers is a recommendable option, just one thing, go watch this movie relax because the tension it has will trap you.
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2009
Irish helmer Jim Sheridan laments the fact that European films have a better chance of achieving poetic resonance than their Hollywood counterparts. He now works mainly in America, and his latest offering, a taut reworking of the 2004 Danish movie Brothers, is a case in point.
In truth, that cast performs admirably, Sheridan's gift with actors squeezing terrific performances from Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The last plays Tommy, the prodigal son, a petty crook and, in the eyes of his Vietnam vet father (an excellent Sam Shepard), a bit of a wanker.
Maguire's return may as well be met by other characters campily exclaiming, "We thought you were dead!" (His response: "I was!"), such is the melodrama left exposed in My Left Foot director Sheridan's tepid American-based facsimile.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2010
"Brothers", is based around a successful Marine and Family man who is shipped out to Afgahanistan and comes back a changed mind. During his depature, however, he is first thought to dead - while his younger brother back at home assumes the unlikely role as caretaker. When he returns with damages from the war, he is forced to try to leave what had happend on the battlefields behind and "Live again, after he has seen the end of war."

It's easier said than done for The Marine in this film and he pays a hefty toll for the service he gave. It's a fair basic film overall, the plot is a good thought but not quite as detailed as it could be, and while the film itself was pretty good I was no fan of the ending in which felt as if it ended "mid-movie." The biggest problem with the film, as good as it was, was it almost had no where to go and in basics took baby steps towards progression and stopped.

Still, the movie is powerful, heart wrenching, and with actors like Tobey Magquire, Jake Gyllenhalal, and Natalie Portman it was saved from being total disaster. I enjoyed the film and what it was trying to tell. It's not quite a five star film, but, it's a good average flick.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2010
"You know what I *did* to get back to you? You know what I did?"

Brothers is thoughtful, without being preachy. This isn't really one of my favorite genres, because movies about the psychological toll of war can often be heavy-handed. Brothers keeps the message centered on war families and the very real problems that they can (and do) face without making moral judgments. That's one of the main things I liked about this film.

The other thing that I enjoyed enough to mention was the performances. I haven't been this impressed with Natalie Portman since The Professional, and I've NEVER been this impressed with Jake Gyllenhal. Tobey Maguire was great as well, and he shares much of the acting burden with Portman. He had to go deep and dark in this one, and he did it well. My respect for all three of them as actors has increased, thanks to their work here.

On the not so sunny side, the movie didn't handle the relationship between the two siblings nearly as well as it could have. It's called Brothers, but in actuality, the film focuses on the two brothers quite separately. The story always seemed be about one of them alone and rarely did they both get the primary focus. The first half was almost all Jake, and the likewise with the latter half and Maguire. I assume that wasn't the attention of director Jim Sheridan, but that was the result.

Brothers was a pleasant surprise for me. As I said, I don't often go for this kind of film, but the excellent acting of the three principal leads were enough to overcome my aversion to the genre.
Page 1 of 350