This was not an action movie. There were no explosions, mad chases or gunfire.  I knew that going into the theater. 

But, there is something that always catches our attention when looking for a movie to enjoy.  This movie like so many that we have enjoyed in the past was based on a true story.  Truth is amazing.

An estranged son is in the middle of a high stressed career.  He is juggling marginal ethics, an angry boss, narcissistic temptations and then earth shattering news slams into his delicate balance, toppling his slim hopes for life’s big score.

News that his father has died reaches him.

We viewers feel the sense of sorrow.  Silently, we urge him on as he makes apparent arrangements to fly to his father’s funeral service.  Our heads shake at the complications of making the journey.

Everyone seems to be helping speed him along but something odd is filtering its way into the schedule.  Then, it appears that he is trying to sabotage his own efforts.  That suspicion grows into shocking peculiarities.

Once he makes the trip but misses the funeral service the story becomes clearer.  His mother, amazing Michelle Pfeiffer, slaps her son hard across his face.  He does not protest.

The bitterness of a son against his distant father emerges.  There is hardness between the mom and son as well.  Efforts to revive something longed-for but frustrated misses connecting.

Nothing is going well for all those who are hurting. 

Then, there is the discovery that the late father had another child.  A family attorney passes on the father’s wishes that his son deliver a nice sum of money for the benefit of his grandson, his daughter’s only child.  The financial troubles of the son’s own life tempt him to keep the money for himself.

This tension of selfishness, shocking news of an unknown sibling by a different mother and a large amount of money take the movie to relational levels worth experiencing at the movies.  The mom finally confesses what she knows about a painful affair years ago.  Her hurt finally finds some solace.

The brother and sister struggle through the new discovery of family.  There is more pain, more hurt but eventual resolution.  How does one cope with such news? 

Can a tender side of the father who was so self-absorbed really bring something happy into this story after he is dead?  Watch the movie to see it happen.  Thoughtful end to such a sad beginning.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography