What They Had
What I had (ha-ha), was some time to kill before going to a screening of Wildlife yesterday so I decided to squeeze this film in before the showing. Saw the trailer for this and it looked pretty standard but I’m always game for films that depict mental health and the impact it has on others. The film also boasts a really wonderful cast and I had to think that the film would at the very least halfway decent. Its more than decent, I actually had a good time with this. It mixes a bevy of emotions but hits exactly the right notes when it needs to.
The film is about two children who come together with their mom and dad around the holidays. Their mom is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and its tough for her to remember her own children and her husband. The family have a lot of issues to resolve as they clash heads on what to do with their mother and their unspoken issues with their hard headed father. The film stars Hilary Swank, Robert Forster, Taissa Farmiga, Blythe Danner, and of course Michael Shannon in one of my favorite performances he’s ever done.
The film is actually hilarious in many parts, especially through Michael Shannon. He plays a dead pan sarcastic brother/uncle and his comments made my day. There’s just a good deal of humor involving the characters despite the film being emotionally heavy as it deals with a disease that impacts a family so greatly. As expected, the talented cast is perfect in this film. Forster and Swank in particular really showcase their talents. Even Blythe Danner playing the mom; she’s always so happy and cheery despite the fact that she can hardly remember anything.
I think I’m most impressed by Elizabeth Chomko’s script. It balances everything well. The script is simple but has a lot of heart and dimension to it. This isn’t a film that’s going to get a lot of buzz as it came out very limited, but I think its a very enjoyable effort. If you’re a lover of film and have some time to kill, go for it. Its not an essential watch but go see the character and family dynamics on display here.