Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Greatest (2009) [R] ***

Rose (Carey Mulligan) and Bennett (Aaron Johnson) graduated from high school together, after having spent four years watching and wondering about each other. They finally met on the afternoon of their last day of senior year and during the following summer they explored their passionate yearning for one another.

Inevitably, Rose becomes pregnant. But then Bennett is killed in an auto accident, and with her mother in drug rehab, Rose is left with no choice but to ask Bennett's parents Allen and Grace (Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon) to give her a home until her baby is born. In this grieving, dysfunctional family, Allen is incapable of displaying his emotions; Grace is obsessed with her dead son's final minutes of life; and Bennett's younger brother Ryan (Johnny Simmons) is in despair because he was too drugged to appreciate what had happened to his beloved older brother. In the middle of this family, pregnant Rose simply wants to learn as much as she can about Bennett, who could be the greatest love of her life.

Written and directed by Shana Feste, this is a true-to-life portrait of how different family members grieve in different ways, and how they ultimately pass through the grieving process and discover that they're ready to embrace new life. While there are a couple of subplots that are not explored, and while Shana Feste's writing and directing display some imbalance and immaturity, Brosnan, Sarandon and Simmons give reasonably convincing performances. The film really belongs to Carey Mulligan, however, an incomparable young actress who was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her leading role in An Education and who is already being compared to a young Audrey Hepburn. 

Labels: drama, romance, teenager, tragedy    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 45/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=55, viewers=66)    

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