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Parents' Guide to

Louder Than Bombs

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Intimate, mature drama deals with a family's grief.

Movie NR 2016 109 minutes
Louder Than Bombs Poster Image

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Poignant and evocative, this well-performed drama explores how grief affects a father and two sons missing the extraordinary woman in their lives. Byrne and Eisenberg give heartfelt performances as a father and son who have vastly different memories of the same woman; to Eisenberg's Jonah, his mother was brilliant, cool, and brag-worthy, whereas to Byrne's Gene, she was a complicated and occasionally self-absorbed wife who would purposely choose work over her family. Then there's newcomer Druid, whose performance is the most impactful. Conrad's a hard-core gamer but doesn't seem to have any real friends; even Jonah thinks he's too weird to thrive socially in high school and should just wait until college to find his people.

Director Joachim Trier includes many effective flashbacks to different key points involving Isabelle and her men. Conrad, who's obsessed with death, is a bit of an exception as he holds on mostly to tiny moments like a hug or a long-ago game of hide and seek. Amy Ryan gives a lovely, understated performance as Conrad's teacher, who's also secretly in a relationship with Gene. Another subplot follows the married Jonah as he reunites with a former flame whose mother is dying of cancer and allows her to believe that his own wife is also cancer-stricken. These guys have troubled -- and troubling relationships -- but who can blame them, Trier is asking, when they don't know how to be themselves without Isabelle? This isn't an easy film to watch, but it's a touching and intimate look at a family that was left behind after a self-destructive artist's demise.

Movie Details

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