As the drug-addled/guilt-ridden Kym, Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) takes her career to another level.  Often stilted in the past, Hathaway invests herself here with abandon.  It’s not a perfect performance as the dramatics feel a little too self-conscious at times, but Hathaway displays great range and depth.  Even better is Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men, Season 1) as Rachel.  DeWitt shifts seamlessly between emotions, often on a dime, yet every moment feels fresh and spontaneous.  There are other strong supporting turns, too, but Hathaway and DeWitt are the core.  Both could be looking at Oscar nominations.

Like Hathaway, the film overall is impressive though not perfect.  The drama does feel contrived at times, and it occasionally dispenses of consequences a bit too conveniently (a rushed resolution to a car crash comes to mind).  But this is a minor critique as even the contrived moments are realized with an unflinching realism. 

Its themes are honest, too, showing that we must take ownership of and responsibility for our addictions, guilt, and past sins.  It’s natural to want the approval, grace and forgiveness of others (and even helpful), but those must be viewed simply as gifts and not expectations.  Kym finally begins to realize this important distinction (if only intuitively), providing a poignant hope to the end of a necessarily wrenching journey.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Alcohol is consumed at a wedding, people become tipsy and slightly drunk.  Not overly excessive.
  • Language/Profanity:  The normal array of R-rated language peppered throughout, though not constant.
  • Sex/Nudity:  A brief moment of sexual intercourse, seen from a distance.  The individuals are mostly clothed, but it is an abrupt/explicit moment.
  • Violence/Other:  There are physical altercations inherent to the situations of the movie, but nothing graphic or violent.



Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla.  He is also cohost of the "Steelehouse Podcast,” along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where each week they discuss God in pop culture. 

To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com or click here.  You can also subscribe to the "Steelehouse Podcast” through iTunes.