John Wells not only wrote the script but made his directorial debut with this movie. He had previous experience as executive producer with extremely successful TV shows as The West Wing and ER, among many others. This is one tough cookie of a subject to tackle, due to the fact that it presents to the public the following dilemma: "Oh! Do you really want me to feel sorry for the misfortune of these white-collar fortunate's? Really? Don't you see I'm struggling myself?" versus "can you feel compassion in your heart, regardless of?"
But this is not the only aspect presented. Wells also explores in a very subtle and elegant way the gaps in terms of gender, generation, lifestyle, and values. The cast - Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Craig T. Nelson, Maria Bello and Rosemarie DeWitt- was superb and extremely believable in their roles. At the end of the movie they will have made you succumb to denial, lose your sense of self worth, deal with uncertainty, assert readiness from within, learn humbleness, respect dignity, acquire the basics to work in a new craft, handle multiple hats simultaneously, and reformulate what's really important in life. Or maybe not!
I really liked the story presented, although some people have considered it a victim of clichés; something I found absolutely justified, considering that it is precisely in the corporate world that clichés are born, fed, and passed on to the new generations as part of their organizational culture.
In the end, nostalgia for the long gone American Dream will present the viewer with a second opportunity. In my opinion, each lesson learned must pass its fire drill and prove that things can actually be done in the right way. Some found this to be a rather unrealistic end but, I ask: don't we all deserve second chances? We can only hope!
This is the true redemption story of a very angry young man who ends up in jail. Entertaining but nothing more. All the elements seem to be there but you end up feeling it was a bit of a waste of time. From it all, I rescue my own afterthoughts about people who suffer at the mercy of their own bad temper; how incapable they seem to control their own demons and how really small things trigger a short fuse that gets them in trouble.
I'm talking about really good people, people with a heart, who end up making others around believe they are not worth hanging out with because all that comes out of their mouths is anger and hardship. Add to that formula ending up with bad company who finally make them feel some sense of worth because their rage serves their illegal purposes and they'll soon go from misdemeanor to criminal!
This foreign movie approached World War II from a rather unexplored angle. What was of the survivors afterwards? How did they cope with all these horrific memories? How did they struggle to reconcile the past with the future? What about the thousands of stories shared about what others endured? Their mental health, their emotional sanity? How to trust in human kind again? Are the dead ones, actually dead? How do they feel when, at the end of their lives, the possibility of dying, again, is a matter to deal with?
Not that all these thoughts were portrayed in the movie, but for sure were considerations in my mind as I was watching the turmoil inside this woman's heart once she found out that the man she loved and believed dead, was very alive!
The marriage depicted in this script is as doomed as the movie. The only things in its favor are Ischia in Italy, Mateo Messina's score and grandma's recordings: "You know the truth when you find it. It'll come to you like something you've known before rather than something you're learning for the first time."
Although this is a present-based story of two teens helping a fugitive to accomplish his rather absurd escape plan, memories of Tom Sawyer and his mystic Mississippi river kept coming to my mind while watching this movie. The sights were breathtaking! The lousy shacks and lots full of junk of this delta town in Arkansas remind me of Almirante, a scary and ugly village that one must cross to access the most exquisite sea views in my country. In small places like these, kids quickly learn to be on their own and create their own adventures. They grow up like weeds, like a force of nature, fully connected with their environment and willing to explore their surroundings. These kids exude inner bravery and resourcefulness. I could not imagine kids from bigger cities without any kind of supervision, alone on a boat or riding a motorcycle while parents are clueless of their whereabouts.
The film was a bit longer than needed be but, the performances of Matthew McConaughey and these two novel actors, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, was extremely commendable in keeping it fresh. I can see why it has been labeled as a coming-of-age but, in my opinion and regardless of the age factor, it had more to do with the struggles we all must deal with when having to choose between fantasy and reality, trust and distrust, hope and despair, loyalty and betrayal, disappointment and redemption, holding onto a feeling and letting go.