A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this emotional drama isn't likely to appeal to kids or teens. The director is Danish and relatively unknown to American audiences, and despite Halle Berry's popularity, the trailer and ads clearly highlight the mature dramatic themes -- which include death, murder, drug addiction, and grief. Several scenes show Benicio Del Toro's character doing (or already high on) heroin and Berry's widowed character sobbing. The language is strong (and includes "f--k," "s--t," and more), but it's not excessive, particularly taken in the context of the movie's powerful emotions.
What's the story?
Audrey Burke (Halle Berry) is grieving the senseless death of her loving, loyal, successful husband Brian (David Duchovny) when she realizes in a panic that she's forgotten to inform Brian's best friend, Jerry (Benicio Del Toro), who's a heroin junkie. It quickly becomes clear that Jerry knew and loved Brian as much as Audrey did, and she somewhat impulsively asks him to come live in her empty garage. Jerry begins to help Audrey and her family heal. In return, Audrey and her family convince Jerry to quit using -- as much for the late Brian as for Jerry himself.
Is it any good?
This drama is heavy on emotional impact, and not likely to appeal to kids. Danish director Susanne Bier is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, best known for films about family crises, death, and all the tiny moments that make us all human. In THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE, Bier's first English-language film, she brings her decidedly European sensibilities to this drama starring A-list Hollywood actors Berry and Del Toro. Del Toro's incredible ability to modulate his intensity level, coupled with Bier's flawless way of capturing small, intimate moments, helps Things We Lost in the Fire transcend the sentimentality that can weigh down stories about loss.
Some audiences may find it hard to sit through a film without an obvious ending, but thanks to foreign-born filmmakers, American moviegoers are slowly realizing that you don't always have to have a happy ending to have a satisfying film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about loyalty and friendship. How is Brian an example of unconditional friendship to Jerry? How does Jerry help Audrey move forward -- and vice-versa? The movie's Danish director, Susanne Bier, is known for her naturalistic, realistic style. Is it obvious that the movie wasn't made by a mainstream American filmmaker? Why or why not? How do movies and TV shows reflect the culture that produces them?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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