Tragedy opens the wounds that the Brewer family has long struggled to ignore. Bennett Brewer (Aaron Johnson), a handsome and talented young man is suddenly killed in a car crash late one night while driving with his girlfriend Rose (Carey Mulligan). Bennett's death devastates his family -his mother Grace (Susan Sarandon) is overcome with grief, while his father Allen (Pierce Brosnan) is forced to try to comfort a woman he is no longer certain he loves, and brother Ryan (Johnny Simmons) becomes painfully aware that he will never live up to his late brother's shining example. As grief slowly brings the family to its knees, two unwelcome characters come into the picture - Rose, who is carrying their late, idealized son's baby, and the truck driver who unwittingly took Bennett's life.
Grief + American saccharine = very average stuff
- The Greatest review by RP
I rented this film because I'm trying to catch up with films with the rather excellent Carey Mulligan in them. I didn't know anything about the subject matter – if I had then perhaps I wouldn't have bothered. It's about grief and how different members of a family deal with it following the death of a loved one – the "greatest" of the title, the greatest son / brother / boyfriend. And while first time director Shana Feste has assembled a cast of excellent actors, the film suffers from a perhaps inevitable Hollywood saccharine sweetness that is at odds with the raw grief that such an event brings. I know, I've been there – and if you too have grieved you will recognise the emotions. But here, they are distorted through the lens of a US movie. Not a bad film – I've seen many worse – and the director even manages to get Pierce Brosnan to act a little, but there are too many unfinished or unbelievable bits (maths teacher with a huge suburban house + beach house? A girl who attends bereavement counselling sessions after pretending her sister has died? A mother who waits by the prison hospital bedside of driver who killed her son?). As far as my reason for renting the film: yes, Carey Mulligan was excellent – but the film is worth at best 3/5 stars. Very average stuff.
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