What They Had

Critics Consensus

What They Had finds laughter and tears in its portrait of a family at a crossroads, with writer-director Elizabeth Chomko getting outstanding performances out of a talented cast.



Total Count: 104


Audience Score

User Ratings: 595
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Movie Info

From first-time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko, WHAT THEY HAD centers on a family in crisis. Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother's (Michael Shannon) urging to deal with her ailing mother (Blythe Danner) and her father's (Robert Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together.

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Critic Reviews for What They Had

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (24)

  • The script, inspired by Chomko's grandparents' marriage, throws up plenty of authentic-looking observations of life with Alzheimer's.

    Feb 28, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Top Critic
  • An affecting drama propped up by unexpected and humanizing moments of comedy.

    Nov 9, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • There's an inherent longing in Elizabeth Chomko's stunning feature debut, What They Had.

    Oct 30, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Blythe Danner does a remarkable job of conveying Ruth's irreversible path into total memory loss without turning her into a movie-of-the-week cliché.

    Oct 26, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • You may feel as if you've seen this movie before: Ruth has Alzheimer's, her husband Burt is in denial and their grown children Nick and Bridget are at odds. But please, trust me, you haven't...

    Oct 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • What sets the film apart is the literate and insightful script by Elizabeth Chomko, who also directs, and a cast of stellar performers.

    Oct 25, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for What They Had

  • Dec 14, 2018
    The epitome of perfectly competent, appropriately moving, and decidedly routine What They Had attempts to break the monotony of the family drama, but despite a handful of strong performances from a rather stellar cast-Shannon and Forster stand-out, but it's Swank who holds this thing together-first-time filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko (who also has the sole writing credit) doesn't yet have the chops to execute the film in a way that makes this families tragedy rise above that of other, similarly-themed dramas.
    Philip P Super Reviewer

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