Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Beautiful and Subtle Story of Loss and Addiction (rated 4 stars)

by Susanne Bier

I’m not really a fan of Hollywood “issue” dramas that take a serious look at things like drug addiction or other topics, but when I saw that Susanne Bier was directing Halle Barry and Benicio del Toro, I was intrigued. In her previous film “After the Wedding”, she told a melodramatic story in a completely compelling and moving way, so this seemed as though it would be a great fit and it was. while many films feel the need to have characters impart important information through dialogue, in Things We Lost in the Fire everything unfolds in a subtle and organic way that gradually lets the audience connect everything together as we get to know characters. The film is filled with moments that are real, painful, awkward and beautiful. The acting, directing, cinematography, editing, and writing all combine to create a character study that shows people as they are, without tidying or simplification.