When his helicopter goes down during his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan, Marine Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) is presumed dead. Back home, brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in to look over Sam’s wife, Grace (Natalie Portman), and two children. Sam’s surprise homecoming triggers domestic mayhem.
This movie is really filled with emotion. Tobey Maguire plays the war hero who was captured and then brought home with some mind problems from the pain. Jake Gyllenhaal plays his brother who just got out of jail and is trying to find a new life. Then you have Natalie Portman playing Maguire's wife who has to deal with two kids and a broken husband. They all were excellent in the film. Tobey Maguire was the star though. He really showed emotion and when he gets back from the war you can really see the pain he went though just by looking at his face. The two little girls were played by Bailee Madison and Taylor Geare and they were a joy to watch. Such skill for such young actresses. The story is really good up to the end. The end is very uneventful. They even give you a pretty big build up, but not a strong ending. Up to it though, excellent film. This is a deep story and you can really tell all the actors really worked hard to play their parts. Good film.
I was encouraged by Richard Roeper's review and accolade of "movie of the year" (Ref: )and so went to see 'Brothers.'
I was really looking forward to seeing serious fare with all of the silly films that have been out lately.
With Toby Maguire's character, "Sam" as the good son soldier (Spoiler Alert), killed in Afghanistan and brother of Jake Gylenhaal's character, "Tommy" who's the loser brother "bad son" just out of prison, and a grieving Natalie Portman, playing the widow of Toby Maguire's character, the film is rife for "when is it brotherly love and when is it cold hearted replacement" drama as Jake's character, to help heal his dead brother's grieving family, eventually crosses the line.
Both a study in the pointlessness of a good man's death in war, and brotherly and family dynamics, good and bad, 'brothers' moved me deeply and I highly recommend it.
At The Movies
Brothers (PG) * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Family rivalry takes centre stage in Brothers, a smart revealing movie from Alliance Pictures now stirring emotions at Tinseltown, on Pender, free parking), Colossus and Famous Players Silver City cites around B.C.
Top Irish director Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father) is at it again. Serious subject matter is this film maker’s forte and again he does not disappoint with Brothers. Set with a backdrop of war this story concerns a burning conflict from within.
Natalie Portman convincing as Grieving War Widow
Wars are controversial and homecomings can be blessings or setbacks. Fresh off a tour of duty in Afghanistan is Captain Sam Cahill. Tobey Maguire (Seabiscuit) leaves his Spider-Man cape behind and fits well in a U.S. military uniform. Back home our G.I. Joe has two young daughters and beautiful wife, Grace. Leaving a galaxy far far away far behind is Natalie Portman who has matured into one of the best actresses after a string of strong dramatic roles. Add Grace to her resume as a woman trying to cope with unbearable sadness when her husband dies on a return tour in Afghanistan. Or so it seems.
Friends of the family are shocked with news of Sam’s death, including two loving parents and brother Tommy, thought by some to be the black sheep of the family. Jake Gyllenhaal relishes the role of Tommy, a very confused brother to a military hero. Despite the differences between these men they still share a common bond, though Sam is now thought dead.
Amidst all of this despair Tommy begins to play a more active role in the girls’ lives and a friendship develops between him and Grace. Talk about that brotherly bond strengthening. On the surface no one can really blame these adults for their actions. But what if Sam was in fact still alive?
This element of surprise provides the real grit in this story as the presumed dead Sam resurfaces, albeit as a changed man. Back in the field of war Sam underwent considerable stress and that battle fatigue comes home to haunt all who wander back into his life.
Maguire and Gyllenhaal Powerful One-Two Punch as Battling Brothers
Smart dialogue and wonderful dramatic acting make Brothers a memorable movie experience. Both Tobey Maguire and Jake Gylenhaal (Jarhead) put on explosive performances as members of what once was a cohesive unit coming apart at the seams. Caught in the middle of this “adjustment” is Grace who holds her head high, stands her ground and shows the compassion needed to reconnect with her husband while raising two cute as can be little girls.
Many films have been made about the Iraq war so now Afghanistan is becoming centre stage. Sheridan succeeds in mounting good footage of the perils of prisoners of war and further shows the dilemma such trauma can cause on soldiers and their families back home.
Tension truly abounds in this 110 minute film that shows Mr. Sheridan hasn’t lost a step or his touch when it comes to bringing very personal human stories to the screen. Based on a Danish movie, Brothers is solid drama with an abundance of winning performances from a spate of professionals.
Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com