"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.
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.
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.
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.
Plus, thanks to the trailer, I knew every freaking detail of the story.
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.
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.
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.