I am house/pet sitting for my parents and since there is absolutely nothing else to do way out here in the boondocks, I usually rent Pay-Per-View movies when I am here. They have quite a selection with Time Warner, much better than what we get with Dish. Anyway, I had the hardest time deciding on what to watch. I don’t watch many movies anymore either because I do not have the attention span when around the kids and/or because just about everything out of Hollywood has been shit for the past few years. Tonight I chose a movie which was not shit. It was actually remarkably good. It is called, The Greatest.
Starring Susan Sarandon, Pierce Brosnan and Carey Mulligan, The Greatest is the exact kind of drama I was looking for. I had never heard of it before today, but my gut told me to rent it…and rent it I did. I felt like watching a good crier. Boy was it. I teared up countless times throughout the entire movie. It was heartbreaking yet endearing…it was so very real but a reality one never wants to endure…and the acting, I forgot who I was watching. Just fantastic.
It is difficult to write a review when you desperately do not want to reveal any spoilers. I will say this movie’s basic plot is about a grieving family. A couple and their son must go through the horrible tragedy of losing their 18 year old son and brother. The boy also leaves behind a young woman he has deeply loved from afar for years. After his death, the family learns of her being pregnant and they take her in during the deepest moments of their grief. The roller coaster of emotion, the differences in reactions…it is all so natural. The entire film flowed beautifully. Just pure human.
In the beginning, Susan Sarandon’s character as the mother, wakes from a seemingly peaceful sleep only to wake to the sound of the alarm having to remember all over again that her heart is broken. As soon as her mind is aware of her reality, she breaks down in gut wrenching agony. I always felt that one of the worst parts of loss is that whole part of having to remember it each and every time you wake up. It makes you not want to fall asleep at all. The father, played brilliantly by Pierce Brosnan, avoided these bursts of emotion by not sleeping, not feeling, not talking – very pragmatic and simply going through the motions of his daily life. The son, feeling invisible has his own struggles in coming to terms with a brother who he wished he had hated…then, maybe it wouldn’t hurt as badly.
The young woman, Carey Mulligan – she is just gorgeous, comes into their lives completely unexpectedly. And her presence and the soon to be presence of the grandchild forces one parent to finally grieve and the other to finally begin to live again.
The words and the emotions displayed on screen were almost tangible and even recognizable. It was a reminder of not only how short life can be, but also how many different forms of love there are in this journey through life. We can love from miles away without a spoken word. We can love our children as though we need them to breathe. We can love our spouse like no one else can understand…through troubles and errors, with age and tragedy that one person can still be your right arm. There are no two loves a like. And because of that there are no two deaths alike. We will each grieve a loss in a different way. But we all experience these phases in life and there truly is no way around it. We will all have a loss which will leave us empty and hollow. We will all love another person more than what feels safe. And we will all have to pick ourselves up again regardless of what knocked us down.
The Greatest was a great surprise. I liked it so much more than I expected. From now on…my gut gets to pick the flick.