Things We Lost in the Fire

The Contenders

Release date: Sept. 19 Distributor: DreamWorks/Paramount

Joining a cavalcade of downer films, “Things We Lost in the Fire” is a story that presents more hope than the majority of the year’s quality films gunning for kudos.

Representing a European take on the studio film, Danish helmer Susanne Bier’s direction breathes a compelling intimacy into Allan Loeb’s script about a young widow who invites her husband’s recovering-junkie best friend to live in her home. As the Miami Herald’s Rene Rodriguez notes, the picture could “have been a disposable, four-hanky tearjerker, but ends up leaving a curiously lasting impression.”

While Oscar winner Halle Berry is solid as the grieving wife and mom, film critics have collectively zeroed in on fellow Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro’s performance in “Things.” Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers writes: “Del Toro is the movie’s force field. This is a performance you will not forget.” And Josh Rosenblatt of the Austin Chronicle gushes: “This movie belongs to Del Toro. He imbues Jerry with such life, such ambiguity, such unsentimental complexity and depth that you can’t help but feel you’re watching the most intricately mapped depiction of addiction and strained humanity the film world has ever given us.”

Both Berry and Del Toro have managed to grab nominations for somber material before (“Monster’s Ball” and “21 Grams,” respectively).

But despite the pic’s star power, the fall film barely has been able to eke out more than $3 million so far in wide release. That box office failure could prove detrimental to the film’s ultimate kudos chances.

See photos, trailer and more on ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’

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