25th March, 2008
Things We Lost In The Fire (MA)
In A Word: Mournful
GREAT PERFORMANCES: Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro star in Things We Lost In The Fire.
"A rich character piece which features some terrific performances, Things We Lost in the Fire is best recommended for its performances, in particular that of Del Toro."
Things We Lost in the Fire is a film that focuses on how different people deal with the grief of losing a loved one. Halle Berry stars as Audrey, a widow and mother-of-two to her murdered husband Brian (David Duchovny). After the funeral, Audrey invites her husband’s long time friend and heroin addict Jerry (Benicio Del Toro) to live with her family while he recovers from his addiction, mending their rocky relationship in the process.
The film contains a back and forth structure, and in flashbacks the viewer is shown Brian’s goodwill towards his family and friends, a nature with would ultimately cost him his life after his attempt at helping a woman involved in a domestic dispute ends with his death at the hands of the victim's husband.
Director Susanne Bier draws out great performances from her lead actors. Halle Berry effectively portrays the varying mood swings and denials her character inhabits after her husbands death, and Benicio Del Toro triumphantly depicts the horrors and crippling consequences of heroin addiction in a bravura turn. The underrated David Duchovny plays his role very well, and the film's two child actors - Alexis Llewellyn and Micah Berry - handle the film's adult-oriented material with exceptional performances.
The film is kept on an even keel, not relying too much on melodrama, yet not succumbing to moroseness either. However, a number of insufferable corny moments do creep up from time to time, and the almost two hour runtime does tend to irritate.
A rich character piece which features some terrific performances, Things We Lost in the Fire is best recommended for its performances, in particular that of Del Toro.
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