After two straight flops on Broadway, playwright Robert Longfellow(Martin Donovan, who also wrote and directed) needs to desperately recharge his batteries. So, he returns home to Los Angeles to visit his mother(Katherine Helmond) while his wife Alice(Melissa Auf der Maur) and two children stay behind. While there, he is hired to do some script doctoring before meeting with Emma(Olivia Williams), an actress and old friend, who has better ideas, not only professionaly but personally. Seeing as how Robert is so busy, it might be understandable how he has not been able to find the time to have a beer with Gus(David Morse), a friend from the neighborhood.
"Collaborator" is a movie that defly defies expectations and cliches by taking a low key approach to the material. The lone exception is a remarkable emotional explosion that one character has kept pent up for decades to thankfully express an opinion which I have also been waiting a long time for somebody else to bring up, even if it has to come from a character who is so smug. Since they were shaped in different ways by the same incident, Robert probably looks at Gus in a 'there but for the grace of you-know-who, go I' kind of way; clues to which are slowly revealed throughout the movie. In other words, Robert cannot escape his past, just as his present is unraveling, despite his success in life.