What They Had (2018)


Critic 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.


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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 (85) | Top Critics (23)

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…

One of the year's best indie dramas, one that should hit home with a wide range of viewers sure to relate to the achingly authentic family dynamics on display.

Oct 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for What They Had

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 Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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