Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Germany/USA, 2005. Miramax, Revolution Studios, Initial Entertainment Group, The Ladd Company, Kalis Productions GmbH & Co. Zweite KG, Persistent Entertainment, Unfinished Films. Screenplay by Mark Spragg, Virginia Korus Spragg. Cinematography by Oliver Stapleton. Produced by Leslie Holleran, Alan Ladd Jr., Kelliann Ladd. Music by Deborah Lurie. Production Design by David Gropman. Costume Design by Tish Monaghan. Film Editing by Andrew Mondshein.
Nothing you haven’t seen a million times before; estranged family members who have been thrown apart by tragedy are reunited by circumstances and learn to become a whole from the various broken pieces of their lives. Jennifer Lopez escapes an abusive boyfriend (Damian Lewis) with her sassy daughter (a remarkable young woman named Becca Gardner) and has nowhere else to go but the ranch of her dead husband’s father (Robert Redford), with whom she hasn’t spoken in years. Redford is still bearing a grudge since the accidental death of his son, and takes it out on the care of his best friend (Morgan Freeman) who was mauled by a wild bear and has been nursed by his cowboy pal ever since.
Lasse Hallstrom does his usual excellent job of making it all feel real without overly sentimentalizing everything, but he can’t do anything about the tired familiarity of it all. Lopez is something of a disappointment, feeling forced and unnatural in all her heavily dramatic scenes, Freeman is his usual dignified best friend on the side making witty comments about everything, and Redford is surprisingly non-comatose for the first time in years–the man has emotions after all!