Things We Lost in the Fire Susanne Bier

Things We Lost in the Fire Susanne Bier
This is one of those ambitious films that starts out with a decent premise, some incredibly earnest actors and an emotionally overwrought script, and then loses steam about halfway through when the actors are left with nothing but their tears and a slow-paced but not nearly emotionally affecting enough script. Audrey (Halle Berry) is a recently widowed mother of two whose too-good-to-be-true husband Brian (played in flashbacks by David Duchovny) was killed while trying to protect a stranger from her abusive husband. To play the stunned widow, Berry impeccably mastered the deer in the headlights look of the recently bereaved, flipping between teary-eyed stoicism and a blank-faced, "I’m still in denial” stare for pretty much the entire film. Jerry (played by the facially over-emotive Benicio del Toro) provides the necessary contrast to her stony expression. He’s her husband’s childhood best friend, who Brian never abandoned even when he became a screw-up drug addict. Brian’s death prompts Jerry to sober up and Audrey ends up inviting him to live in her home as some sort of good will gesture. No matter how much the film threatens to become a romance, it never quite gets there — and that is to its credit. It’s more plausible as it is but unfortunately, the touching first act is followed by about an hour-and-a-half of tedium as the widow, the best friend, the kids and a neighbour all cope with the tragedy. Nothing much really happens here but we do get to see Benicio del Toro act the living daylights out of a heroin withdrawal scene. Special features include several trailers, seven deleted scenes and a short "making of” featurette that includes some behind the scenes footage of the stars and interviews with the director and others. (Dreamworks)