What They Had (2018)
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Chomko refreshes the formula with vividly grounded writing that never forces her actors to summarize where they've been, emotionally speaking, or where they're going.
This captivating family drama is anchored by actors-Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster-who truly are as good as it gets. You laugh as much as you cry, which means you believe in the movie's truth.
Though occasional bursts of spikiness suggest that Chomko has a more unexpected story to tell, the narrative beats of this one - even without its eye-rolling final shot - are audible well in advance of the end credits.
The real triumph is its refusal to descend into mawkishness, even when a third-act tragedy takes place. It's blunt and bold, just like its characters.
In the overcrowded field of indie dramas about intergenerational family struggles, What They Had feels inessential; it rarely rises to the level of its performances.
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