Review of “The Greatest”

With a title like “The Greatest,” the bar is set pretty high. Unfortunately this movie just didn’t measure up to my expectations.  It was good, not certainly not the greatest.  This tear jerker stars Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan and newbies Johnny Simmons and Aaron Johnson.  The movie begins with a young boy Bennett (Johnson), the true all-American high-school boy and his quirky girlfriend “Rose (Mulligan), who get in a car accident. It takes his life and not hers just as he’s professing his love for her in the middle of a deserted street.  His grief stricken mother Grace (Sarandon), father Allen (Brosnan) and brother (Simmons) each deal with his death in a different way.  Grace seems unable to continue with her life and is obsessed with spending her time at the bedside of the man who hit Bennett’s car, a criminal who is now in a coma.  When Rose shows up on the Brewer’s doorstep claiming to be 3 months pregnant she is welcomed by Allen and resented by Grace.  The plot proves to be a little contrived as the loss of their son threatens to pull Grace and Allen apart, while their tension eventually drives Rose to run away when she overhears Grace saying she should have been the one to die in the accident.  However, they “see the light” and track Rose down just in time for the baby to be delivered and there be a happily ending.  Big surprise.

The greatest thing about this movie in my opinion is the use of Bennett’s little brother.  Simmons is refreshingly honest and his breakdown at the loss of his brother is truly heartbreaking.  I would watch for him in the future.  Although this is a sad movie overall, the tearful scenes are intertwined with sweet and romantic clips from Rose and Bennett’s short-lived courtship.  This helped give a much-needed lighter side to the movie. There’s also a boob shot in the first 30 seconds of the film! The pseudo- friendship that grows between Rose and Allen provides as much comic relief as can be expected in a tragedy.  My favorite part is when Brosnan accompanies Rose to an “I wouldn’t be caught dead in this” party.  Classic. The cinematography had a soft-focus and it really gave the feeling that it was portraying a story from at least thirty years ago. Confusing since it was set in 2009.  Overall, I liked the movie because they’re all talented actors individually, however they just don’t seem to pull it off here. While Mulligan is true to her charming and waifish persona and Simmons really hold his own, they just aren’t enough to make up for the lack of originality in plot.  If you haven’t had a good cry in a while this movie is bound to produce the desired affect, but if you’re strapped for cash I recommend waiting until you can see it on Netflix.

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