Brothers (2009)

Blood is Thicker than Water

Director: Jim Sheridan

Cast: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman

Genre: Drama/War

Type: Independent

Running Time: 110 minutes

Rated R (for language and some disturbing violent content)

A beautifully crafted film carried by the emotionally haunting and wonderful performance of one of my personal favourites, Tobey Maguire. Tobey is one who I have desperately wished would win an Oscar, more specifically since The Cider House Rules (1999). His ability to tap into emotions and portray these varied human beings, more specifically a traumatized marine in Brothers, is raw greatness.

Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal also gave good performances, but I truly felt they could have pushed itfurther. I found that Jake kind of went downhill, and his character became less troubled and deep, which I felt made him less interesting and affecting. Natalie Portman is another personal favourite. I find her to be both very beautiful and intelligent. She has an amazing talent and I will always support her whether her movies are good or bad.

The young girl who played Isabelle Cahill is a force to be reckoned with. Bailee Madison. I can smell the greatness coming to her. It is always a great sign when you can grasp the concept of your character and the wide range of complicated emotions they go through at such a young age. She is 10. It was a very powerful and catching performance, particularly her dinner scene. Where does such a small and beautiful child find the skill to get so angry and cry and be genuine all at the same time? Fantastic.

Apart from the performances, the story itself is heartbreaking and even though I hate repeating myself I will say it again, beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. What I found to be distinctive about this movie is the fact that it did not require sex to make it have a significant impact. I see that a lot of films that we watch today are ram-packed with sex scenes to catch the audience’s eye and why not? I mean, movies imitate life and life has sex. But, I think if you can touch people and get your point across without using sex as a means, then you’ve done a wonderful job. Well done, Jim Sheridan, and thank you very much.

The Long and Short: Brothers is a well-crafted drama that is sure to touch your heart.

My Recommendation: I think is a good movie to watch on a movie night with your family, or by yourself if you combine it with other dreadfully depressing war movies. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Favourite Scene: When Bailee Madison’s character throws a wee tantrum.

Verdict:  B+


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