Kudos, a job well done!
W. Day | 04/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend gave me this movie. I didn't know what to expect. I was surprisingly surprised. I think Ashton did a wonderful job. Actually, the whole cast was great. Having lost a family member to a brutal death, I could relate to Ashton's character and felt he expressed my pain perfectly. The exploration of grief from different angles was well written. I hope to see Ashton in more movies where he can show how he has grown as an actor."
Douglas King | Cincinnati, OH United States | 08/23/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Personal Effects" deals with a very heavy subject ... grieving people dealing with the violent deaths of loved ones. After his sister's brutal rape and murder, Walter (Ashton Kutcher) gives up his promising wrestling career in order to care for his family and monitor the case of his sister's alleged killer. Through a support group, he meets Linda, (Michelle Pfeiffer)a widow grieving her husband's violent death, and the two become closer when the trials of their loved ones' killers are running concurrently. Kutcher's relationship with Pfeiffer grows from platonic to romantic, and Kutcher also takes an interest in Linda's angry, troubled, deaf son Clay.
After "Spread," "Personal Effects" is the second film I've seen recently that casts Ashton Kutcher as a dramatic lead. Like in "Spread," Kutcher is paired with an older, more seasoned actress, and in both cases, this mostly just makes obvious how feather-light Kutcher's presence really is. Kutcher and Pfeiffer have a smidgen of chemistry, and despite their 20 year age difference, Pfeiffer is still so beautiful that there's no doubt that even pretty boy Kutcher would find her attractive. But Pfeiffer is such a far superior actor that Kutcher seems wooden by comparison. It's clear Kutcher is going for subtle and stoic, but the result is, unfortunately, somewhat vapid.
Also adding considerably superior acting chops to the film is Kathy Bates, who plays Walter's mother, Gloria, mourning the death of her daughter and caring for her grandchild. Once again, Bates' gravitas make Kutcher seem like an amateur in comparison.
By casting a stronger actor in the lead (Ryan Gosling or Joseph Gordon-Levitt come to mind), this could have been a much better film. Until his acting improves, Kutcher should stick with goofy comedy and prank shows.