28 Days Betty Thomas
Published Apr 01, 200028 Days is an honest portrayal of one woman's struggle to overcome her addiction to alcohol and drugs. Gwen (Sandra Bullock) finds herself sentenced to 28 days in a rehabilitation centre after crashing a car while driving drunk. In rehab, she is forced to confront her addictions and the reasons behind them, and learn to accept help from those around her. What could have easily been a film of cliched sentimentalism manages to keep its integrity largely intact by retaining humour and a cynical edge throughout. This lack of sentimentality makes the film's truly dramatic moments have some surprising impact.
Sandra Bullock does a fine job at playing a darker role than is usual for her, embodying Gwen's gradual and hard-won transformation to sobriety. Dominic West steals scenes as Jasper, Gwen's boyfriend and former partner in debauchery, as he tries to recapture the life they had together, oblivious to Gwen's changed perspective. An absurdly restrained Steve Buscemi plays a minor role as Gwen's councillor. Director Betty Thomas gives the film a certain sense of style, particularly in her showing Gwen's out-of-control childhood and pre-rehab life as a series of hazy fragmented flashbacks. The film doesn't really offer any tangible insights into the nature of addiction, but it does tell Gwen's story honestly and compassionately enough to get the viewer invested in her character's journey.