What’s every parent’s worst nightmare? What could be even worse than that? Locked in their own lives, a couple is both torn apart and brought together when the unthinkable happens and their son goes on a shooting spree at college before taking his own life.
Michael Sheen and Maria Bello turn in awesome performances as they try to come to grips with not only the loss of their son, but the the idea that he – and maybe they – caused those same losses for so many other families. Where can one turn when the only ones who could understand your pain blame you for theirs? What do you do when the worst pain you thought possible is caused the person you loved the most in the world?
The film does a great job of exploring the myriad emotions that the grieving parents go through: from denial to regret to anger; reassuring each other that it wasn’t their fault one moment and blaming each other the next; mourning their son while at the same time wondering if they can or should damn him. Meanwhile, they are cut off from the rest of the world as they try to deal with their pain as best they can.
The one knock on this film is the lack of resolution. Personally, I think that was the point: this isn’t the sort of thing you get over or move past. All you can do is try to move on with your life as best you can, trudging forward with the awesome weight of it always pressing on you – a point driven home poignantly in the film’s final act.
This isn’t a film for everybody. It’s not entertaining and it’s not the sort of thing that will leave you feeling good afterward. Certain scenes are downright devastating. But it will make you think and it will tell a story – two things that are too often lost in film making nowadays.