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"BROTHERS"
(2009) (Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Extreme Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: When a Marine captain is reportedly killed in combat in Afghanistan, his family must contend with that and then his unexpected return, the disturbing ways in which he's changed, and the now altered family dynamics.
PLOT:
It's 2007 and Marine Captain Sam Cahill (TOBEY MAGUIRE) is about to be deployed to Afghanistan again, an order that hasn't been sitting well with his wife, Grace (NATALIE PORTMAN), or their two young daughters, Isabelle (BAILEE MADISON) and Maggie (TAYLOR GEARE). Yet, they're used to that and are proud of him, much like Sam's Vietnam vet father, Hank (SAM SHEPARD) and his wife, Elsie (MARE WINNINGHAM).

Most of them don't feel the same way about Sam's brother, Tommy (JAKE GYLLENHAAL), who's just gotten out of jail after serving time for robbery and has forever lived in Sam's shadow. He's forced to mature, however, when Sam's chopper is hit in combat and he's reported as having been killed. With Grace and her girls shell-shocked and grieving, Tommy steps in as the new father figure and soon adjusts well to that role.

Unbeknownst to them, Sam isn't dead but has been captured, along with Private Joe Willis (PATRICK FLUEGER), by armed locals in Afghanistan who then sell the two to a group of terrorists who torture them while demanding videotaped confessions of their wrongdoing.

Sam is eventually rescued and returns home, but his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- based on his treatment and what he was forced to do to survive -- prevents him from returning to his normal self. Paranoid and believing that Tommy and Grace are now a romantic item, Sam's behavior puts increasing stress on him and his family, all as his wife and brother try to help him through his difficulties.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or have some interest in the military and/or the American involvement in Afghanistan, it doesn't seem likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some disturbing violent content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAKE GYLLENHAAL plays an ex-con with a troubled past who's lived in his brother's shadow most of his life. When Sam is reported as killed in Afghanistan, he steps in to take care of Grace and her kids, becoming a new father figure for those girls. He briefly kisses Grace but then feels badly about that, and must then contend with Sam's unexpected return and mental instability. He uses strong profanity, smokes, drinks and briefly smokes pot.
  • NATALIE PORTMAN plays his sister-in-law who must contend with news that her husband has been killed in combat. Shell-shocked, she tries to carry on, especially for her girls, and finds herself drawn to Tommy with whom she briefly kisses. She briefly uses strong profanity and shares a joint with Tommy.
  • TOBEY MAGUIRE plays her husband, a captain in the Marines who's easygoing before his latest deployment to Afghanistan. But he changes after he's captured, tortured and forced to do unspeakable things. When he returns, he suffers greatly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder , thus causing problems with his family life. He uses strong profanity and has violent outbursts.
  • BAILEE MADISON plays his oldest daughter who's still just a girl but can see -- and is afraid of -- the way her father has changed. She ends up longing for her uncle to be her new father, a sentiment shared by her younger sister played by TAYLOR GEARE.
  • SAM SHEPARD plays the brothers' gruff and stoic father, a Vietnam vet who's proud of Sam (and must then contend with news of his reported death) but feels quite the opposite toward Tommy with whom he often clashes until the young man begins to turn his life around. He drinks in various scenes.
  • MARE WINNINGHAM plays his wife, the brothers' stepmom who tries to be supportive of everyone.
  • PATRICK FLUEGER plays the Marine private who ends up captured along with Sam and must contend with the related torture and such. He uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 41 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually explicit dialogue is present, and off-screen married sex occurs.

    Violence includes several murders (some shootings, including an execution, as well as by beating with a pipe), torture, brief combat material, and some property damage. There's a little bit of bloody results, but that violence as well as scenes depicting an increasingly unstable soldier back home (including brandishing and threatening with guns) might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    All sorts of tense family material is present, as are bad attitudes, and some behavior that might be enticing for kids to imitate. Drinking and some smoking occur, while two characters briefly share a joint.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement in the film, some of which is fairly bouncy.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Tommy has a beer in a bar where others drink.
  • Hank has a drink and offers some to Tommy, but he declines.
  • Hank drinks from a flask after his son's funeral.
  • Tommy and Hank have it out again, with Tommy mentioning his dad's drinking problems in the past.
  • Tommy calls Grace early in the morning to inform her that he ordered some expensive drinks in a bar and doesn't have the money to pay for them. When Grace shows up to pay, she isn't happy, especially with Tommy's drunken behavior.
  • After Grace offers Tommy's contractor friends something to drink, one says a beer would be good, and that's seconded by another.
  • Tommy and his friends have beer.
  • Tommy's friends have beer at Grace's birthday party.
  • Tommy has a beer while chatting with Grace by the fireplace (she also has one, or takes a swig from his). He then lights up a joint and then shares that with her. As they continue talking, she reminds Tommy that he was always drunk and fighting in the past.
  • Hank has a drink.
  • Hank has a drink in another scene.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Sam has a slightly bloody cut on his head after having been captured.
  • A hot iron is used on Joe's leg to torture him, and we see various cuts and abrasions, etc. on his face.
  • We see bruises and dried cuts and abrasions on Sam's bare back.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Those who capture and torture Sam and Joe obviously have bad attitudes.
  • We see that Tommy has just been paroled from prison (for robbery).
  • Tommy and his dad have it out in various scenes stemming from the dad not liking how the adult son has turned out.
  • Tommy is shocked from the news of his brother's death in combat. He then takes that out on Grace, asking why she let Sam go back to Afghanistan. He then throws his keys hard at her feet before storming off.
  • Tommy calls Grace early in the morning to inform her that he ordered some expensive drinks in a bar and doesn't have the money to pay for them. When Grace shows up to pay, she isn't happy, especially with Tommy's drunken behavior.
  • The terrorists who have Sam and Joe captive show that they mean business by executing one of their own who endangered their efforts (one man shoots the kneeling man in the head -- we see the body slump to the ground, but there's no blood).
  • Isabelle is upset when Tommy shows up for dinner with a new girlfriend, and then acts like a brat at dinner, complaining about her sister getting better things than her, and rubs a balloon to make loud and obnoxious sounds to drown out the girlfriend. Sam finally has enough, lunges over the table for the balloon, and yells at her to stop. Isabelle then yells back why he couldn't have stayed dead, and that he's mad because Tommy and her mom are having sex all of the time, lying just to get back at her dad.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here and under "Violence" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Sam's chopper is hit by something while flying through Afghanistan, resulting in one person falling out and into the water. Chaos ensues inside (everything is seen from in there), followed by something hitting the windshield hard, with the scene ending there.
  • We see that armed Afghan locals have captured Sam and Joe.
  • Sam and Joe try knocking a board out of place in their cell, but a gun's muzzle pointed their way makes them stop.
  • The terrorists who have Sam and Joe captive show that they mean business by executing one of their own who endangered their efforts (one man shoots the kneeling man in the head -- we see the body slump to the ground, but there's no blood).
  • A fire-heated rod is used on Joe (we don't see the impact, but hear his screams).
  • SPOILER ALERT: A hot iron is used on Joe's leg to torture him, and we see various cuts and abrasions, etc. on his face. Guns are held on both him and Sam, with the leader ordering Sam to kill Joe with a large pipe, saying the latter is now useless to them, etc. Sam refuses, but a handgun is held to his head and he's told he'll be shot if he doesn't. Sam then loses it and begins whaling away on Joe with that pipe (we some of that contact), presumably killing him.
  • As American forces raid the terrorist camp, one bad guy shoots down (with a machine gun) at Sam who tries to take cover, followed by that man being shot and falling down into that cave. Guns are then aimed at Sam as he comes out (with the implication that other terrorists were wounded and/or killed -- we heard gunfire related to that).
  • After Tommy playfully dumps a big handful of snow on Isabelle, the latter appears to be unconscious or dead on the ground. That startles and then worries Tommy as well as Grace who's watching from the house, but Isabelle then shows she was just faking it.
  • Grace is a bit worried and anxious as Sam seems more unstable, including gripping a metal rod of some sort. He then uses that to smash the new kitchen cabinets and counters, etc. while also throwing stuff about. Tommy then slowly approaches and hugs his brother, but Sam retrieves his gun and holds that on Tommy. When they hear police sirens, Sam goes outside, still holding his handgun, and the police aim their guns at him. Everyone is on edge and they try to talk Sam down, but he fires a warning shot in the air and then aims the gun at his own head. He eventually breaks down and drops the gun, with the police then arresting him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see various weapons in Afghanistan (machine guns, etc.) as well as the remnants of tanks, etc.
  • We see that armed Afghani locals have captured Sam and Joe.
  • Sam and Joe try knocking a board out of place in their cell, but a gun's muzzle pointed their way makes them stop.
  • Sam hears a dog barking outside his house and then draws his gun in a paranoid fashion.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I don't want to f*cking come in," "F*cking help me," "Not another f*cking word," "You guys are so f*cking funny," "Just f*cking asking," "I'll f*cking kill you," "F*ck you" (said playfully), "Did you f*ck her?" "You f*cking bitch," "You're f*cking my brother in my f*cking house," "M*therf*cker," "I'm a f*cking hero," "Shut the f*ck up," "Sh*t-hole," "Oh sh*t," "Don't bullsh*t me," "You've been through a lot of sh*t," "You're such a d*ck," "What the hell /are you doing/is wrong with you guys?" "Sound like a damn parrot," "Pissed off," "Wherever the hell you want," "Shut up," "I'm starting to reassess, Snoop Dogg," "I'm such a cliche," "You were kind of a pain in the ass," "Sucker," "You freak me out," "It's none of your damn business" and "Stay the hell out of it."
  • Maggie jumps knee-first onto her dad's back while playing.
  • Tommy has various tattoos.
  • Sam has a small tattoo on his chest.
  • Tommy drinks milk straight from the carton.
  • One of Tommy's friends playfully gives "the finger" to the others.
  • A fire-heated rod is used on Joe (we don't see the impact, but hear his screams).
  • After Tommy playfully dumps a big handful of snow on Isabelle, the latter appears to be unconscious or dead on the ground. That startles and then worries Tommy as well as Grace who's watching from the house, but Isabelle then shows she was just faking it.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Something hits the windshield of Sam's chopper hard.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 41 "f" words (4 used sexually, 1 used with "mother"), 6 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), 4 damns, 4 hells, 2 asses (1 used with "hole"), 1 crap, 2 uses each of "Jesus," "Oh God" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Christ," "G-damn," "Oh for Lord's sake" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see Tommy in just a towel in his motel room.
  • Grace shows a little cleavage.
  • We see Sam shirtless.
  • Sam and Grace start kissing, and we then see them in bed post-sex, partially under the covers, with a view of her bare back as she has her head on his bare chest. They then kiss again and he rolls on top of her, but the scene ends there.
  • We see Grace in a bubble bath, but nothing explicit is viewed.
  • We see one of Tommy's friends in just his boxers after he's stripped following paint accidentally spilling on his clothes.
  • Tommy and Grace briefly but passionately kiss, but both feel badly about that later.
  • Grace shows some cleavage in her tank-top.
  • We see Sam shirtless while shaving.
  • Sam asks Tommy (about Grace), "Did you f*ck her?" Tommy doesn't directly answer that (we know he didn't).
  • Sam confronts Grace and states, "I think you're f*cking Tommy." She admits they briefly kissed (and that they thought Sam was dead) but that's all.
  • Tommy's new girlfriend shows a little cleavage.
  • During a tense moment, Isabelle angrily says her father is mad because Tommy and Grace are sleeping together, adding that they have sex all of the time (all of which she knows are lies).
  • Sam again accuses Grace of having sex with Tommy, stating "You're f*cking my brother" and "You're f*cking my brother in my f*cking house."
  • SMOKING
  • Tommy smokes several times.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Isabelle isn't happy that her dad is being deployed to Afghanistan, but he gets her to lighten up.
  • Hank isn't pleased with most any aspect of Tommy and his life, all of which comes to a head at dinner with bickering, some outbursts, and then Hank leaving.
  • Grace is emotionally crushed when she sees a chaplain at her door, knowing the news can't be good.
  • Tommy is shocked from the news of his brother's death in combat. He then takes that out on Grace, asking why she let Sam go back to Afghanistan. He then throws his keys hard at her feet before storming off.
  • Elsie tells Tommy that his brother is now with their dead mother.
  • Isabelle asks if her dad is dead like her mom's parents, and Grace says yes. The girls don't want to go to the funeral, but we then see them there, along with other grieving family members.
  • Sam's former commander delivers a "if you got this that means I'm dead" letter from Sam to Grace, but she can't get herself to read it.
  • Tommy and Hank have it out again, with Tommy mentioning his dad's drinking problems in the past.
  • Tommy calls Grace early in the morning to inform her that he ordered some expensive drinks in a bar and doesn't have the money to pay for them. When Grace shows up to pay, she isn't happy, especially with Tommy's drunken behavior.
  • Hank cries over his son's death.
  • After Tommy playfully dumps a big handful of snow on Isabelle, the latter appears to be unconscious or dead on the ground. That startles and then worries Tommy as well as Grace who's watching from the house, but Isabelle then shows she was just faking it.
  • Hank briefly admits that he took out his Vietnam-related issues on Sam and Tommy when they were kids.
  • Sam asks Tommy (about Grace), "Did you f*ck her?" Tommy doesn't directly answer that (we know he didn't).
  • Joe's widow talks of a disturbing dream she had about her husband (with his teeth falling out, with bloody results) and then asks Sam if he saw or heard her husband die, and Sam lies that he didn't.
  • Sam doesn't get the humor of his daughters' story about a dog's name, leading to some tense moments at the dinner table until he gets up and leaves.
  • Sam confronts Grace and states, "I think you're f*cking Tommy." She admits they briefly kissed (and that they thought Sam was dead) but that's all.
  • Sam's daughters end up scared of him due to his changed and now intense demeanor, with Isabelle backing up in one scene as he approaches her in their yard.
  • Isabelle is upset when Tommy shows up for dinner with a new girlfriend, and then acts like a brat at dinner, complains about her sister getting better things than her, and rubs a balloon to make loud and obnoxious sounds to drown out the girlfriend. Sam finally has enough, lunges over the table for the balloon, and yells at her to stop. Isabelle then yells back why he couldn't have stayed dead, and that he's mad because Tommy and her mom are having sex all of the time, lying about that just to get back at her dad.
  • Sam again accuses Grace of having sex with Tommy, stating "You're f*cking my brother" and "You're f*cking my brother in my f*cking house."
  • Grace and Tommy are concerned about their own safety and that of Sam as he becomes increasingly unstable and then thrashes their house. He then threatens Tommy, the police, and then himself, and we see the girls upstairs in their room, curled up in fright from having heard all of that.
  • Grace finally reads Sam's "if you got this that means I'm dead" letter.
  • Grace confronts Sam and says that if he doesn't say what happened to him in Afghanistan, she'll leave him forever. He then breaks down and admits what happened.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The American military involvement in Afghanistan.
  • Troops being redeployed into combat numerous times.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .
  • We see that Tommy has just been paroled from prison (for robbery).
  • The loss of a parent.
  • Tommy states that he apologized to the woman he robbed in the past, and reports that she found relief from that.
  • Hank briefly admits that he took out his Vietnam-related issues on Sam and Tommy when they were kids.
  • The comment that despite their training, soldiers can't be ready for the killing that comes along with combat.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Sam's chopper is hit by something while flying through Afghanistan, resulting in one person falling out and into the water. Chaos ensues inside (everything is seen from in there), followed by something hitting the windshield hard, with the scene ending there.
  • The terrorists who have Sam and Joe captive show that they mean business by executing one of their own who endangered their efforts (one man shoots the kneeling man in the head -- we see the body slump to the ground, but there's no blood).
  • A fire-heated rod is used on Joe (we don't see the impact, but hear his screams).
  • SPOILER ALERT: A hot iron is used on Joe's leg to torture him, and we see various cuts and abrasions, etc. on his face. Guns are held on both him and Sam, with the leader ordering Sam to kill Joe with a large pipe, saying the latter is now useless to them, etc. Sam refuses, but a handgun is held to his head and he's told he'll be shot if he doesn't. Sam then loses it and begins whaling away on Joe with that pipe (we some of that contact), presumably killing him.
  • As American forces raid the terrorist camp, one bad guy shoots down (with a machine gun) at Sam who tries to take cover, followed by that man being shot and falling down into that cave. Guns are then aimed at Sam as he comes out (with the implication that other terrorists were wounded and/or killed -- we heard gunfire related to that).
  • Grace is a bit worried and anxious as Sam seems more unstable, including gripping a metal rod of some sort. He then uses that to smash the new kitchen cabinets and counters, etc. while also throwing stuff about. Tommy then slowly approaches and hugs his brother, but Sam retrieves his gun and holds that on Tommy.



  • Reviewed December 1, 2009 / Posted December 4, 2009

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