What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that most teens probably won't be interested in this indie drama about adult siblings brought together by their dying mother. Her death leads to some sad scenes, and she appears increasingly pained and sick (at one point, unable to eat, she sits down to dinner with her family, chews spare ribs, and spits out the food -- then her kids follow suit to make her feel better). Tense scenes among the siblings show their jealousies and resentments. Characters discuss painkilling drugs, and one son smokes a joint. Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t" and "damn."
What's the story?
Dying of ovarian cancer, Anita (Sally Field) calls her four adult children together at her North Carolina home. Almost immediately, tensions emerge -- the kids have clearly grown apart over the years. Oldest son Keith (Ben Chapman), now a Hollywood movie producer, strikes his nurturing sister Emily (Julianne Nicholson) and workaholic brother Barry (Tom Cavanagh) as being in denial as he attempts to take a West Coast-y, "zen" approach to the crisis. Youngest brother Matthew (Glenn Howerton) arrives a day later with his wife Katrina (Clea Duvall), whom no one else can stand. The one thing they all agree on is that they don't like Mom's second husband, Jim (James Murtaugh). Hurt, he finally speaks up: "You people, you're like locusts. You come into my house and just take over." Eventually, almost everyone makes a kind of peace, at least in Anita's bedroom, where she becomes weaker and weaker by the day.
Is it any good?
TWO WEEKS is a very compressed, very predictable tearjerker of the sort that will eventually air on Lifetime. The family gains brief respite in the form of a hospice nurse, Carol (low-key Michael Hyatt). The fact that hers is the single black face on screen only underscores the movie's devotion to clichés (Carol stands in as the wise outsider who helps the white folks learn about themselves).
Two Weeks mixes some awkward comedy with its sadness (Barry cleaning up vomit takes the form of a cutesy, music-accompanied montage), and Keith's videotape of an interview with his mother when she was healthier is intercut with the main narrative to provide a modicum of emotional context. Naturally, Anita shows inevitable wisdom in understanding the tape's real subject -- her self-involved, beautiful son, who needs to grow up.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how death is portrayed in movies. How realistic do you think this film is? Would a real family behave this way in similar circumstances? How do the movie's occasional moments of comedy help alleviate its sadness and frustration? Is that realistic? How does the siblings come to terms with each other as they watch their mom endure such emotional and physical pain? What do they learn about themselves and each other?