Monday, April 6, 2009

Reservation Road (2007)

Ethan and Grace Lerner (Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly) are on their way home from a wonderful family outing with their two children. A tragic accident occurs when Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) who is also returning home from a wonderful day out with his son, loses control of his truck, and hits the Lerner's son. With a split second to decide what to do, he flees the scene of the accident. The rest of the film is about how their lives are changed, how each side deals with what has happened and if it is possible for either sides to move on after such a tragic event.

The accident happens in the first 10 minutes of the film, so I am not giving anything away there, but much more happens that I would love to discuss, but must stay away from so as not to spoil the twists and turns that make a movie interesting. The first thing that must be said is everyone in this film turns in top-notch performances. My heart broke for the family as this movie played out. Even the daughter left behind played by Elle Fanning (yes, Dakota's little sister) turned in a truly moving performance.

I think it is disappointing that this film wasn't given very much promotion when it came out in theatres or when it came out on DVD. I happened to read about it in the upcoming new releases on DVD and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did because this is an astoundingly good character drama. I love the way it splits off at the time of the accident, and follows the story of both leads trying to grapple with what has happened. It covers all the themes that are huge in every day life - grief, sadness, cowardice, hatred, responsibility, guilt, love and even forgiveness.

Again, I would love to go into a much more in-depth discussion about this one, but it would be such a disservice to ruin the plot. So if anyone watches this one, post here or email me and we can discuss some of this further. I will say the only downside on this one is that a few plot points, such as where character's lives intersect later in the story, seem contrived. Well, so what? I can employ my hefty suspension of disbelief for a truly riveting story. Contrive on, I say.

When you are ready for a great drama - watch this one. It is very sad and tragic, but definitely an interesting exploration of how tragic events effect us. You will be thinking about this one long after the credits roll. Another recommendation!

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