Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman

Director: Jim Sheridan

Breakdown: This film was very emotionally impacting, creating a mass of tears in the theater that I went to. I felt that this movie was good, not great, and had a very touching character study. The plot elements were very well designed, but this movie had potential to be the best movie of the year, and was heading that way up until the end, which ruined the movie from being an Oscar contender.

Plot: A man named Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) goes off to fight in Afghanistan in the year 2007. You learn early on that Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) was in prison, and that Sam is looked very highly upon by his father, an ex-marine, and Tommy is looked at like a monster by him. Grace Cahill (Natalie Portman), Sam’s wife, doesn’t really like Tommy, but feels that he is family and has good in him. While in Afghanistan, Sam is shot down, and is said to have died, causing the relationship between Grace, Tommy, and Grace’s two kids to expand, though they are unaware that Sam is still alive.

Beginning/Introduction to Characters: Excellently performed and well done.

Middle/Rising Action, Climax and Falling Action: Fantastic. I was on the edge of my seat.

Ending/Resolution: Ruined the movie. Seamed like it was made just to end the movie, and not to really tie anything up and end the story right.

Acting: Phenomenal. Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal really sell their characters, and Natalie Portman does one of, if not the, best acting jobs of her career.

Music: Thomas Newman does very well with the effects of music adding drama to the scene, and makes the saddest and most heart pounding scenes ever more suspenseful.

Bottom Line: This movie, if not for the ending, would be a 4 on my list. I would call it a good see, but only if you make up your own ending when it is over. Jim Sheridan did well in the director’s chair.