Ah, a break from movies in the man-cave at the homestead. DLP TV is still in the shop. My better half and I ventured out to see the new Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father) film Brothers. Ok, treading carefully here as to not give things away for those that want to see it….this film is about two brothers Tommy and Sam. Tommy has just been let out of prison. Sam, who is obviously the favorite son and has always been the star athlete and well liked, has the perfect family with his wife Grace and 2 girls, and is being deployed to Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Sam  is presumed dead. The story develops as Tommy makes an effort to reassert himself in his family by helping Grace and being there for her two daughters. Of course the drama escalates as Sam returns home, dealing with certain events and returning home to a confused family. If you want to know any more than that, you need to go see it, hope I didn’t give too much away already.

The cast. Tommy, the ex-con is played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, October Sky) and the other brother, Captain Sam Cahill is played by Tobey Maguire (Spiderman, Wonder Boys). Both performances were outstanding, and it would not surprise me at all to see one or both of them on the Oscar list early next year. Personally, I think Jake Gyllenhaal was a bit better in his role, but Tobey Maguire seemed to have the scenes where an actor can “grandstand” a bit, which seem to have some pull with the Academy. Both are top notch performances. Natalie Portman (Closer, The Other Boleyn Girl) plays Sam’s wife, Grace. At first she seemed a bit miscast and out of her element. She looked a little to perfect to be in a middle class family, but a few details given later on about being a popular girl, “cheerleader that dated the football player,” type of girl, I was OK with it.

Overall, I don’t think this is best picture material, but still is a very good and thought-provoking film with many tense moments that will keep  you on the edge of your seat. (One of the most uncomfortable  family dinner scenes I can think of…right up there with Anne Hathaway’s toast in Rachel Getting Married.) This is not a feel good movie, but the cast is very strong and everyone delivers, right down to the two little girls. I would recommend this one for sure.