Things We Lost in the Fire

2008-03-11 08:15
What it's about:

After a random act of violence, Audrey Burke (Halle Berry) finds herself a widowed mother of two. Reeling from the shock of suddenly losing her loving husband Brian (David Duchovny), she turns to his childhood friend and heroin addict Jerry (Benicio Del Toro). Soon the two form an unlikely bond as they work through their mutual grief, all the while their fragility is constantly exposed.

What we thought of it:

Unexpectedly losing a loved one is probably one of the most emotionally shattering experiences. Many search for logic and reason snared in a messy labyrinth while the brain's synapses erratically fire off irrational thought. Things We Lost in the Fire begins in this mood. Danish director Susanne Bier pieces together seemingly random scenes, subtly introducing the characters and narrative. But half way through, the story line falls back into the conventional sequences.

Bier shies away from the superficial Hollywood model, creating a gritty, personal drama. At times she gets extremely close to the characters, even pushing the camera right up to their eyeballs and opting for hand-held shots, eliciting a heartfelt story of living through pain, pushing past addiction, surviving loss, and ultimately living one day at a time.

Things We Lost in the Fire has very dark moments, but at times unexpected bursts of hilarity escape, mostly from Benicio Del Toro's interpretation of Allan Loeb's script. Del Toro navigates the emotions of a heroin addict remarkably well while creating an unusual co-dependent on-screen chemistry with co-star Halle Berry – who can beautifully express heartrending raw emotion on camera – yet again proving that she's one of America's finest actresses.

Ultimately, Things We Lost in the Fire is a touching, character-driven story, free of the convoluted details that litter most mainstream Hollywood films.

- Megan Kakora
A touching, character-driven story about coping with loss told in a surprisingly simple style.

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