Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Things We Lost In the Fire (2007)

I saw this movie the other night and came away with a simple message "Accept the good". Directed by Susanne Bier, this film is typical of her work in that it explores the characters in ways that most movies fail to. It is her first American film.

The film is about the young widow of a good samaritan, who loses his life while intervening in a domestic violence incident. Left with two young children, the widow befriends her husband's best friend, who is a recovering heroin addict who struggles with relapses after brief periods of clean time. Despite this, her husband remained loyal to his friend, something that his wife never understood during his life.

The movie is not only about addiction, although it does show many sides of it. It's about grief, I suppose, the unexpected loss of a good guy, and how that affects the people who were in his life.

As the movie unfolds, the story of her husband's best friend is told and the viewer gets to know him, not just as an addict, but as a human being with a history. The remarkable transformation of this character is one of the things I loved best about this film, because it shows so well how changing our perceptions about each other can radically alter everyone's life in positive ways.

The film also candidly explores the widow's anger at the fact that her husband lost his life and his chance to see his children grow up, while his best friend, despite his addiction, survives. How that plays out is central to the film.

I was baffled by the title of the movie until near the end, when it's explained. I'm not going to give that away, nor am I going to give any more of the plot away. It's worth seeing, if only for its message and the excellent acting, even by the two kids. There are graphic scenes involving some violence and drug withdrawal.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

where can i get a rosary like that one (exactly) in the movie.

Ruth said...

I don't recall the exact rosary, but try one of the online Catholic stores (just google!) and I'll put your comment up to see if anyone else can help.