What They Had | Salt Lake City Weekly

What They Had

Rated R 100 minutes 2018

★★★★★ ★★★★★
Writer-director Elizabeth Chomko’s debut film is a simultaneously sharp and tender portrait of longstanding, interconnected family squabbles and hidden resentments that finally come to a head with a near-tragedy. Bridget (Hilary Swank) rushes home to Chicago when her mother, Ruth (Blythe Danner)—who’s in the late-middle stages of Alzheimer’s—wanders off one night. Though she’s soon found, tensions rise between Bridget’s brother, Nick (Michael Shannon); their father, Bert (Robert Forster), who refuses to acknowledge that it’s time for Ruth to move to a nursing home; and Bridget, who has power-of-attorney. Achingly affecting performances and poignant details ground the story in melancholy authenticity; the bitter humor also rings true, conveying that whistling past the graveyard that comes with facing mortality, particularly that of one’s parents. But this is mostly the tale of Bridget’s confrontation with the fact that her marriage lacks the devotion and romance that her parents obviously still enjoy, even in Ruth’s diminished state. The film’s title isn’t simply an elegy for Bert and Ruth, but a smack to Bridget, an admonition for her to do something to fix her own life, too—if she’s brave enough.

Film Credits

Official Site: bleeckerstreetmedia.com/whattheyhad

Director: Elizabeth Chomko

Producer: Keith Kjarval, Bill Holderman, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Alex Saks, Sefton Fincham, Tyler Jackson, Wayne Godfrey, Robert Jones, Shafin Diamond Tejani, Levi Sheck, Mike Rowe, Dean Buchanan, David Grace, Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon and Byron Wetzel

Cast: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster, Blythe Danner, Taissa Farmiga, Josh Lucas, Sarah Sutherland, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Aimee Garcia, William Smillie, Isabeau Dornevil, Jennifer Robideau, Jay Montepare and Ann Whitney

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