Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Everything Put Together|
Actors: Radha Mitchell, Megan Mullally, Catherine Lloyd Burns, Jacqueline Heinze, Courtney Watkins
Director: Marc Forster
An idyllic suburban life has never been portrayed to more queasy effect than in Marc Forster's Everything Put Together. Angie (Radha Mitchell, High Art) seems to have it all--a loving husband, a close circle of friends, a ... more »
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Dr Lawrence Hauser | NYC, NY USA | 11/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everything Put Together is a harrowing look at what can happen in life when death shockingly intrudes where it seems not to belong. For the protagonist of this daring, deeply disturbing film it is the loss of a just-born infant that triggers the cataclysm. Having given birth successfully, Angie (who has had a joyful, medically uneventful pregnancy) soon learns from her hospital bed that her child has succumbed. She is torn in half. As the days elapse, providing some temporal distance from the event itself, Angie finds she has no way of coping with the terror her experience arouses or the longing for what was to have been. Her social network reacts to the horror of their friend's fate by distancing themselves quickly. Angie is suddenly unacceptable in her outsized grief and for having suffered an undeserved trauma that is frightening to comtemplate.Their lives are constructed upon the necessary premise that life in general proceeds at an orderly pace. Rips in the fabric of a person's sanity caused by unbearable events, especially when acknowledged by the victim in an unapologetic way, are too threatening to be tolerated. What they imply about our collective vulnerability and precarious sense of security is simply unacceptable in ordinary social discourse. Thus becoming a pariah adds to the intensely persecutory ambiance Angie gradually finds herself subsisting in. Marc Forster depicts this slide into exile and inchoate madness masterfully. But it is not until the point when Angie insists on seeing the post-autopsy corpse of her deceased infant that she begins to unravel precipitously. Up until then she has managed to hold herself together despite the onslaught of inexplicable loss and unappeasable mourning. It takes the actuality of what is impossible staring her directly in the face to break her. To his great credit, Forster has the courage and resolve to follow this unrelenting confrontation with death right down to every detail of its relentless claim. Everything Put Together captures the abyss of death absolutely brilliantly. It provides an emotional journey and catharsis for the viewer that is unforgettable."
A most unfortunate look at society today.
Catherine S. Todd | Oxford NC, USA | 08/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film moved me like no other. Having witnessed first hand friends of mine who have lost children to SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), I could appreciate the sentiments and experiences of the characters in this film.
The cruelty of "friends" and the idea that the mother AND father who lost her child were now somehow "unfit" to be near, or have their [former] social circle's children near, was heartbreaking, and only too true in our so-called "modern" society, where everything must be "just fine" in order to avoid being shunned or rejected.
What is this curse that afflicts our white middle class, especially "educated white middle class" females? Why would this young couple be further punished, after experiencing one of the worst kinds of pain, that of losing a child? Why does our society have no rituals of comforting those who are bereaved, other than a church service and an "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that..." as if talking about it and, more importantly, EXPRESSING GRIEF OUTWARDLY is taboo.
Is death and grief so unacceptable in today's world that those that have contact with it, or inadvertently experience it, must be punished further? Is no comfort to be offered, outside of "paying a therapist," "taking medication" or going to yet another group, this time a "grieving group?"
Is it still "Blame the Mother" for anything and everything that goes "wrong?" Does nature, or "the Creator," never have the right or the obligation to end a life for it's own reasons or purposes, or perhaps because something in a child did not develop right? Are we never to accept the natural events of life or of God or of anything that we "don't like" or "don't expect" or "didn't plan for this to happen?"
Who can you sue when a child dies? Whose "fault" is it? Why is it so impossible to accept death in today's society, and why do we punish the mothers who are touched by it, and grieve the most in it?
Are we all "supposed" to be living a "Martha Stewart kind of life?" Does Death have no meaning or purpose in this world?
The actors were all cast perfectly and their dialogue was so natural and "on the mark," it felt like they were in my own living room. I had wondered how far this "idyllic" pregnant mother's group would last, and to my horror and surprise, it didn't last past the birth of the first child in the group, to the most innocent of the group.
The cruelty displayed by all the couples towards the couple (both mother and father) who had lost their child was horrendous, heartbreaking and all too true, even in "this modern day and age." What will anthropologists have to say about us when they study our American culture as practiced by educated, middle class white men and women who are my own age?
The fact that this poor mother ultimately was forced to lie about being pregnant again to finally "gain acceptance" once again was truly heartbreaking, and a comment on how far "friendship" truly goes, in our "average white middle class America."
The director, Marc Forster; the writers Catherine Lloyd Burns (who also played "Judith" in the film) and Adam Forgash (writer and producer of the film), and all the actors are to be commended for their complete and accurate portrayal of our modern experience and reaction to "death" or anything that "goes wrong," for that matter.
The "witch" of the women's group (the "leader of the pack") is particularly to be commended at giving such a perfect portrayal as the ringleader, who leads the charge in ostracizing the most beautiful and innocent member, through her own jealousy and greed. She doesn't even like her own children, but is so "proud" to be "breeding" again. Is she nothing but an ever-present and ever-active brood mare? Do any of these women have an ounce of compassion in their hearts? What do they consider "friendship" to be? Did "witch trials" ever end?
Marc Forster is the same director who brought us "Monster's Ball." This is a stunningly beautiful dreamlike film that quickly turns into a psychological nightmare, based solely on natural events and the human reactions to those events. Death touches us all, and we must learn to accept and revere it in the same spirit we supposedly accept and revere birth. It's all part of the same cycle, and we all "live forever" through the turning of this wheel.
"Everything Put Together" is a must see film and one that will stay with you. Simply incredible."
It has a point all right
Fred Zappa | Urbana, IL United States | 07/31/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you think this movie has no point, you're not thinking hard enough. Monster's Ball used and abused Halle Berry to say something nice about white people--she was a heroine without a soul, another "Magic Negro" whose main purpose, finally, was to suggest something good about the white person on center stage. How dismayingly familiar. If you're a white person (like me) who liked Monster's Ball (unlike me), you should think about just why you liked it. (You probably liked Driving Miss Daisy, Ghost, The Green Mile, and countless other interracial greeting cards for similar reasons--think about it.)This movie, though, is much more honest in its efforts to out some objectionable features of white, upper middle class-ness. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against white people, nor against white yuppies, as people. But despite what such people like to think, there are certain tendencies induced by being members of those two categories (and, of course, by being members of others). This movie is out to examine some of those tendencies, and it exposes them for the anti-communal, soul-crushing dangers they are. White yuppies can certainly avoid enacting such tendencies; however, when they're more or less surrounded by other white yuppies, and the only working class people of color they encounter are those who work for them (as depicted subtly in this film), well, it's difficult not to become excessively self-interested. The central character here--a mother who is shunned by her "friends" after a tragedy they should instead help her recover from--is portrayed as a victim of such tendencies, and the movie does so in order to expose them as dangerous.This movie succeeds at this level of subtle social critique, but I'm giving it four stars because of its unfortunate reliance on cliched borrowings from too many horror movies, and for how long it spends demonstrating the effects of this tragedy on the unfortunate young mother. Still, it boldly goes where few filmmakers dare to go, challenging the shiny happy surfaces of upper-middle-class whiteness so unthinkingly projected nearly everywhere else."
Everything Put Together is watchable independent film
Catherine S. Todd | 03/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed this movie, once I got used to the artful cinematography. The direction and filming are beautiful and I can't say enough good about the actors. They improvised many of their scenes and had to shoot the whole film in about 15 days, often "borrowing" a location and running away because of low funds...what a great movie to have come out of such a crazy situation. The actors manage to convey the emotionalism and the psychology of their characters without going over the top or seeming cliched and cheesey. A well done film all around. Now, for some general commentary regarding other reviews I've read:
A lot of people seem to be confused about the point, but if you listen to the commentary with Mark Forster, Rhada Mitchell, and Megan Mullally they talk about what it's all about. Everything Put Together isn't exactly the horror movie its been described as, but if you let yourself get involved it gets a little scary watching Rhada's character decsend deeper and deeper into her psychoses. One of the big things I'd like to point out is that her friends aren't bad people, they're scared. They've never been in this situation before and it hits a little to close to home for each of them, what if it had been her? They just don't know how to handle it, but that means leaving the main character with no support system to go through a roller coaster ride of darkness and inner deamons turning into light in the end. I like this movie, and obviously I'm buying it so that I can watch it repeatedly."