Jean-Marc Vallee’s film based on an original screenplay by Bryan Sipe is a story that details one man’s attempt to reconcile the tragedy of losing his wife and how to continue life as he knew it. Expertly played by Jake Gyllenhaal, he finds himself living a life devoid of any real happiness and seems to find release in destroying homes, first as part of a demolition team and then proceeding to destroy his own “perfect home.” Though I understood the reasoning he uses to a certain degree, I by and large did not buy his actions and found them completely self destructive to himself and his wife’s memory. Though far from the perfect marriage as he comes to discover certain secrets his wife kept well hidden and with restrictive support from his all controlling father-in-law, well played by Chris Cooper, who also happens to be his boss, he becomes more unhinged as the picture progresses. Naomi Watts provides support as a new friend who can really only listen and try and understand his reasons for acting the way he does. I didn’t really like this story or where it was going and though there were many fine performances, I felt the overall effect to be hollow and troubling. Perhaps this was the effect the filmmakers were going for, however it makes for an arduous film going experience.
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