Poignant Character Life Piece
Kevin Hunter | Los Angeles, CA | 03/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This plays more like an indie flick, and you wouldn't think so with a cast like Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher and Kathy Bates, but in order for this picture to be evaluated properly it needs to be understood that this isn't a fast paced Blockbuster movie, but rather a moody, slow character piece with an unraveling beautiful love story in the subtext. Ashton Kutcher plays a young man whose sister was brutally raped and murdered. He's a silent, but tough guy who has trouble with communicating what's really going on underneath. He's a man's man. He does an impeccable job at conveying what he's thinking just by watching his face and his eyes. I've never seen him do more honest acting work than in this film. Michelle Pfeiffer is a true gem in this, not just a stunning beauty, but she brings a great spirit to the screen and with her character, showing raw emotion to charismatic and charming humor. She plays a woman whose husband was killed by a friend with a gun. Ashton and Michelle's characters have that first common understanding between each other when they meet at a group therapy session for those that lost someone close to them. They slowly begin to develop a friendship that later grows more intimate, clinging onto one another in an underlying way to connect with someone they can relate to. Michelle's character has a deaf son who holds a lot of bottled up anger and rage over his father's death, but is befriended and helped by Ashton's character taking him out of pain and into new heights. Ashton has his Mother played brilliantly in a small, but significant supporting role by Kathy Bates who is raising her daughter's daughter. The love story aspect between the two leads is very real, honest and sexy, poignantly done. This is a sleeper, a slow methodical and feel good piece on loss, love, friendship and family. I don't consider my five star giving for this overly generous, it's five stars for the kind of movie that it is, for this kind of genre, a unique film about the human condition.
There's a scene between Michelle Pfeiffer and Ashton Kutcher that is so erotically charged, practically everything, but taking off their clothes that I'm surprised they didn't give this an NC-17 just for that. The three leads show some absolutely incredible dramatic realism. Kathy Bates should've got some kind of award acknowledge for this one, but if only someone could've put it out there and market it."
Things Left Behind - 'Good Stuff'
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PERSONAL EFFECTS is a solid little film written by director David Hollander and the fine novelist Rick Moody. The premise is a study of how the traumatic deaths of people affect those left behind. The story is well told, allows the audience to explore the group therapy approach offered to families of violently killed people - the various means of responding to loss, the differing reactions from those who cannot let go of the hate they have for losing a loved one, and introduces an interesting concept of having one of the characters who narrates the film be a deaf mute young man!
Gloria (Kathy Bates) is the mother of twins - the girl was been brutalized and murdered and the boy Andrew (Ashton Kuchter) has left his career as a wrestler to return to the scene of the crime to mourn his sister and to demand the perpetrator be convicted and imprisoned: his career has been put on hold and he ekes out a living dressed as a chicken for a fast food chicken restaurant. During the ongoing twin's trial, Andrew meets Linda (Michelle Pfeiffer) whose alcoholic husband has been killed and she is left to support her teenage deaf mute son Clay (Spencer Hudson). Through series of grieving meetings and periods of isolation on the part of each of the characters, each finds ways to support the other and a love affair develops between the older Linda and the younger Andrew as he agrees to accompany her to her various weddings for which she serves a planner. How these characters comes to grips with resolution of their losses is well tied together by film's end.
This is not a great movie, but the performances by the leads are quite fine. This is a movie with a message, one that delves into territory with which many are not familiar, and for that reason alone it is well worth watching. Grady Harp, March 09"
A beautiful film, better than most theatrical releases
Jo Ryan | 07/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this movie on a sort of lark, thinking from the scant, critical reviews I'd read online that it might be an amusing dud where Ashton Kutcher tries to act and can't. Was I ever wrong! This is a beautiful, sensitive and deeply moving drama that had me literally at the edge of my seat by the end of it. Michele Pfeiffer is brilliant, and Ashton Kutcher a fine dramatic actor who reminded me a bit of Woody Harrelson in his portrayal. This movie is better than 90 percent or more of regular theatrical releases, and I can't understand why it went straight to DVD. The supporting cast, including Kathy Bates as a grieving mother, is wonderful; the story, written by the author of the highly acclaimed "The Ice Storm" original and very affecting. It brought to mind both "In the Bedroom" and "Little Children." I'd like to buy it and watch it again. It makes me think Kutcher could have a future as a leading man."
Bonnie Brody | Fairbanks, Alaska | 08/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was a great surprise. I did not know what to expect and ended up loving it. It is like a small indie flick but it stars three well-known actors: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, and Ashton Kutcher. I was surprised by what a good actor Ashton Kutcher is.
The movie starts out with a group of people meeting together in a grief support group. Ashton Kutcher's sister has been murdered and Michelle Pfeiffer's husband has been murdered. Kathy Bates plays Ashton Kutcher's mother. Michelle Pfeiffer has a teen-aged son who is deaf. Ashton Kutcher had the potential to be a nationally recognized wrestler prior to his sister's murder. After her murder, he returns home to be with his mother and to watch the trial. He reaches out to Michelle Pfeiffer's son by getting him involved in wrestling. Gradually, Ashton Kutcher and Michelle Pfeiffer become attracted to each other and begin a relationship that is poignantly sweet and deep.
I highly recommend this movie. It's a gem."