Brothers (2009 film)
Brothers is a 2009 American psychological drama war film and a remake of Susanne Bier's Danish film Brødre (2004), which takes place in Afghanistan and Denmark. The film stars Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman, and is directed by Jim Sheridan. Both films take inspiration from Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey. The film received a mixed to positive response and grossed $43 million. Tobey Maguire received particular praise for his performance and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for his performance.
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Jim Sheridan|
|Produced by||Michael De Luca|
|Screenplay by||David Benioff|
by Susanne Bier
and Anders Thomas Jensen
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Edited by||Jay Cassidy|
|Box office||$43.3 million|
Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) is a U.S. Marine captain, about to embark on his fourth combat deployment. He is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, Grace (Natalie Portman), and together, they raise two young daughters, Isabelle (Bailee Madison) and Maggie (Taylor Geare). Sam's brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is being released from jail for an armed robbery, before Sam departs to Afghanistan in October 2007. Sam deploys and after a bit of time, news comes that Sam's Blackhawk helicopter has crashed during an operation in the Helmand Province, killing all of the Marines aboard. In reality, he and a hometown friend, Private Joe Willis (Patrick Flueger), have been taken prisoner in a mountain village by Taliban fighters.
With Sam gone, Tommy attempts to redeem himself in the eyes of his family by wrangling old friends to help with kitchen repairs for Grace and the girls. Grace slowly sheds her previous resentment towards her brother-in-law. As months pass, Grace and Tommy bond over their mutual mourning, culminating in a passionate fireside kiss. They immediately regret it afterwards and do not take their attraction any further, though Tommy continues to win the favor of his nieces. Meanwhile, Sam and Joe are tortured by their captors, forced to make videotaped dismissals of the military and their mission, though only Joe cracks. The captors eventually deem him useless and force Sam, at gunpoint, to beat Joe to death with a lead pipe.
Sometime later, Sam is rescued by American forces. Once he returns home, Sam drifts through a cold, paranoid daze, showing signs of severe post-traumatic stress disorder, due to the traumatic events he experienced in Afghanistan. Refusing to explain to his family what happened while he was there, Sam also lies to Joe's widow that he does not know how Joe died. His paranoia also leads him to believe Grace cheated on him with Tommy in his absence. During Maggie's 6th birthday party at her grandparents, Hank (Sam Shepard) and Elsie's (Mare Winningham) home, a resentful and jealous Isabelle lies to her father that her mother had an affair. After the family returns home, Sam becomes enraged, destroying the newly remodeled kitchen with a crow bar and pulling a pistol on Tommy, who arrives and tries to calm his brother's violent breakdown.
The police arrive, and after a violent confrontation in which Sam holds the gun to his head and contemplates suicide, he reluctantly surrenders after a frantic plea from Tommy and Grace. After the police arrest Sam, he is admitted to a mental hospital. Grace visits him and tells him that if he does not tell her what is tormenting him, he will lose her forever. Faced with this decision, Sam finally opens up about the source of his pain, confiding in her that he killed Joe and they embrace. A letter between husband and wife is read aloud, with Sam wondering if he will be able to continue living a normal life.
- Tobey Maguire as Capt. Sam Cahill
- Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy Cahill
- Natalie Portman as Grace Cahill
- Sam Shepard as Hank Cahill
- Mare Winningham as Elsie Cahill
- Bailee Madison as Isabelle Cahill
- Taylor Geare as Maggie Cahill
- Patrick Flueger as Pvt. Joe Willis
- Carey Mulligan as Cassie Willis
- Clifton Collins, Jr. as Maj. Cavazos
- Jenny Wade as Tina
- Omid Abtahi as Yusuf
- Navid Negahban as Murad
- Enayat Delawary as Ahmed
- Ethan Suplee as Sweeney
- Arron Shiver as A. J.
- Ray Prewitt as Owen
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The film received mixed to positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 64% of 154 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.2 out of 10. The site's consensus is that "It plays more like a traditional melodrama than the Susanne Bier film that inspired it, but Jim Sheridan's Brothers benefits from rock-solid performances by its three leads." On Metacritic the film has a rating of 58 out of 100 based on 31 reviews. Maguire in particular received critical acclaim for his dramatic performance. Roger Ebert said that Brothers is "Tobey Maguire's film to dominate, and I've never seen these dark depths in him before." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times named Brothers as the best film of 2009.
Of the Golden Globe Award nomination, Tobey Maguire said "I had no expectation about getting a nomination, but I was watching nonetheless. My wife and my son got really excited. I was sort of surprised — I was like, 'Oh, wow.' And I couldn't hear the latter part of my name." The Edge of U2 described how the band planned to celebrate the nomination. "I think we might have a pint of Guinness and eat a potato in honor of (director) Jim (Sheridan) and his great piece of work."
|2009||15th Critics' Choice Awards||Best Young Actor / Actress||Bailee Madison||Nominated|
|36th Saturn Awards||Best Action or Adventure Film||Brothers||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Tobey Maguire||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Natalie Portman||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Younger Actor||Bailee Madison||Nominated|
|67th Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama||Tobey Maguire||Nominated|
|Best Original Song||"Winter" by U2||Nominated|
|2010 Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actor – Drama||Tobey Maguire||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2009||Best Supporting Actress||Natalie Portman||Nominated|
|Denver Film Critics Society Awards 2009||Best Original Song||"Winter" By U2||Nominated|
Brothers was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 23, 2010.
An opera based on the story of the film by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason was premiered in Aarhus on August 16, 2017. It was commissioned by Den Jyske Opera. Kerstin Perski wrote the libretto and the director was Kasper Holten. To celebrate Aarhus as the European capital of culture 2017 3 stage works; a musical, dance and an opera all based on films by Bier were commissioned and performed in Musikhuset.
- "Brothers (2009) Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- All Things Considered (2009-11-29). "Director Jim Sheridan On 'Brothers'". NPR. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for December 4–6, 2009". Box Office Mojo. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
- "Brothers (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
- "Brothers (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Roger Ebert. "Brothers". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Stars react to Golden Globe nominations". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-12-15.[dead link]