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Teenagers Rose and Bennett were in love, and then a car crash claimed Bennett's life. He left behind a grieving mother, father and younger brother, and Rose was left all alone. She has no family to turn to for support, so when she finds out she's pregnant, she winds up at the Brewer's door. She needs their help, and although they can't quite admit it, they each need her so they can begin to heal. Written by
Susan Sarandon was initially reluctant to tackle the role of the grieving mother in the film as she's played similar parts in recent years, most notably in Moonlight Mile (2002) and In the Valley of Elah (2007). She was impressed with writer-director Shana Feste's eccentric script, and the fact that the film would shoot close to her New York City-area home on a quick 28-day schedule was also appealing. Still, it took a phone call from Pierce Brosnan (who had just signed on to co-star) to finally convince her to commit to the film. See more »
In the scene where Allen is looking for Rose, he stops his vehicle and hops out while the windshield wipers are still going and shuts the vehicle off with the wipers in the 'up' position. In the next shot, the wipers are down. See more »
All right, I have a secret to tell you.
You're in the middle of the road.
I know. Do you wanna hear it?
Do you want to move your car first?
No, not really. I just wanna tell you one more thing.
[takes a Polaroid picture of him]
What? That's not gonna be good.
Okay, tell me.
[...] See more »
THE GREATEST is a small film, quietly made in 28 days by first-time writer/director Shana Feste. The story/script is so unusual and touching that she was able to gather a rather extraordinary cast to bring this delicate story to life. It remains amazing to many of us that while the audiences flock to the gigantic CGI big noisy flicks, little jewels such as this film go completely unnoticed. The only hope is that enough people see this film now on DVD that that both the message of the movie and the quality of the acting and production gain the attention THE GREATEST so justly deserves.
Without introductory remarks the film opens with a brief prelude of the love between two (just graduated from high school) youngsters who after their first encounter with love pause on the drive home to attempt to make their feelings into words and BAM - a truck plunges into them and the boy Bennett (Aaron Johnson) is killed while the girl Rose (Carey Mulligan) is spared. The camera takes us rather abruptly to the graveside where the grieving parents Grace (Susan Sarandon) and Allen (Pierce Brosnan) and their young drug addicted son Ryan (Johnny Simmons) stare blankly into the hole that has been placed in the middle of their lives. None of the family copes with the death well: Grace can't stop talking and crying about Bennett and searches for a way to find out how Bennett spent the last 17 minutes of his life (that time between the accident and his death) to the point of attending to the truck driver (Michael Shannon) in coma at the local hospital, awaiting his recovery to learn about those 17 minutes; Allen is unable to sleep and tries to cope with the tragedy by not allowing mention of it in his home; Ryan, now on frequent tests to see if he is drug free, attempts to relate to a group therapy session of kids whose siblings have died.
Into this dysfunctional crumbling decimated family comes Rose, three months later, pregnant with Bennett's child, seeking refuge from a mother who is an addict. She is invited to move in, despite the fact that Grace loathes the idea and thinks Allen is merely trying to resolve the grief he has ever faced by attaching to Bennett's only girlfriend. The remainder of the story reveals how each of these injured four characters gradually interact and by bearing their personal grief with their own life problems manage to find a place where they can recover together.
The acting is superb as one would expect from such a talented cast: Carey Mulligan again shows us that she is an important emerging actress; Susan Sarandon allows us to see and understand the degrees of near insanity that grief for loss of a child can distort a life; and Pierce Brosnan proves he is a first-rate actor, managing a difficult role with great sensitivity. The rest of the cast is also excellent in very minor roles - Jennifer Ehle as an ex-lover of Allen, Aaron Johnson and Johnny Simmons as the brothers, and Michael Shannon as the driver of the truck who gradually awakens form his come to make Grace face some truths. As for Shana Feste, she is a strong artist and we should be seeing more beautifully crafted stories from her.
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