Brothers is a war-drama directed by Jim Sheridan (Get Rich or Die Tryin, In America) starring Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film is based on a 2004 film from Denmark entitled Brodre directed by Susanne Bier.
Brothers as I’m sure you are well aware is the story of two brothers, Sam(Maguire) and Tommy(Gyllenhaal) Cahill. Sam is a family man in the Marines married to his high school sweetheart, Grace(Portman) and has two beautiful daughters. Sam is about to go back to Afghanistan and Tommy was just released from prison. While on his tour of duty in Afghanistan Sam’s helicopter crashed and he is presumed dead. But what they don’t know is that Sam and his friend Joe Willis have actually been taken hostage. After what they believe to be Sam’s death, the family tries to move on and Tommy tries to reconcile some of his past mistakes and help out Grace and her two daughters. His nieces grow quite fond of Tommy and enjoy having him around. Even Grace, who previously didn’t like Tommy, started to like having him around and the two start to bond. Leading to a kiss one night while sitting beside the fireplace, the two don’t allow the attraction to go any further. Meanwhile, Sam and Joe are prisoners of war in Afghanistan and they are abused and tortured by militants. A little bit later and after these men are put through much pain and agony and one key scene that I will leave out and let you see for yourself, Sam is rescued. Sam returns home and is haunted by the experiences that he went through while held captive. He also firmly believes that Grace and Tommy were sleeping together while he was gone. What happens when all of this comes crashing down on Sam all at once? You’ll just have to watch the film to find out for yourself.
One of the key things that stands out in this film to me was the acting. Apparently it wasn’t just me either because Tobey Maguire has been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor. A nomination that I feel was well deserved. I’m sure he will not win the award as he is up against some very strong competition but it was a nomination that I was happy to see given. The performance he gives in this film is easily the best that he has done. I couldn’t imagine having to go through some of the things that the soldiers go through overseas and I think Tobey Maguire portrayed it exactly how I would picture it to be and he was very believable in doing so. He really applied himself to the role with powerful emotion that you see on the screen. The rest of the cast seemed to feed off his emotion and supported his performance very well. Natalie Portman did a great job at playing the heartbroken, withdrawn wife that lost her husband in war and then switched to relief when she heard that he was alive but at the same time still be withdrawn. Jake Gyllenhaal in my opinion is a very underrated actor who usually gives really good performances even if the movie isn’t that great. He continues the trend of delivering on the screen with this role. The whole cast seemed to gel really good on the screen and Jake and Tobey showed a lot of emotion and rivalry that you feel in real brotherhood. Other than Tobey Maguire’s performance, the big stand out was the performances given by the two little girls, Bailee Madison and Taylor Grace Geare. These two little girls have a bright future ahead of them. Watching them on screen was really a treat and a major surprise. The emotion these girls show in the film made my heart hurt. The whole cast as a whole I thought was superb and they could have nominated the whole cast for Best Actor and it would have been right.
I had somewhat high expectations for this film after the trailers and reading about the film. It was a film that I really wanted to go see and it was a film that I feel delivered and a film that I really enjoyed. For me it is a movie that kinda hit close to home. My brother is in the military and he has gone overseas on a couple tours of duty and is currently on his third. He also has a wife and two beautiful little girls at home. I couldn’t imagine the things he sees or the things he does and I couldn’t imagine coming home and living with some of those things. That’s why watching Tobey Maguire in this film was so amazing. He portrayed what I would see happening if my brother had to go through some of the tortures that Maguire’s character went through. Aside from the military side of the film it was still really good. You have Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, who has been a bit of the problem child with stints in prison and not really taking his life in any direction. Their father was hard on him for that and always tried comparing him to his brother. Then after his brother was presumed dead he tried reconciling and being there for the family when they needed him. As a whole the movie was really good and one that I would recommend to everyone to go see. It’s not going to blow you away with special effects or lots of laughter. But watching the performances on screen will blow you away and seeing the effects as a whole the war and different situations have on families. Maybe it’ll give some of us a chance to open our eyes and see what’s going on in our lives.
4 out of 5 stars