I went in thinking Brothers was a Lifetime movie with a good cast and a theatrical release. However, it is much better than that. While I’m not nominating it for my best of list, it is much more than a sappy war drama. Brothers is a sad tale about loss, and the power of love. The trailers do a horrible job of portraying what is really going on here. They make it seem like Jake Gyllenhal’s character winds up falling in love with and sleeping with his brother Sam’s (Tobey Maguire) wife Grace (Natalie Portman).
David Benioff does a good job with the script in making this darker than we expected, and thus more realistic. And while it seems they fall for each other, it is brief and the love they feel for Sam keeps them apart. When Sam returns from being a POW he is a bit off-kilter and slowly pulls himself inward, lashing out at his wife and brother – thinking they were sleeping together.
And where most films would move towards a ridiculous climax, Brothers hits us with a knockout punch of emotion without going completely overboard.
Even better, my buddy Paul Davis worked on the film. He told me to go see it thinking it would be a film I’d love to hate. Apparently I’ve calmed down a bit since USC.