Fire is not a perfect film. Scenes of Jerry trying to kick his habit drag on, and the discussion of adultery—both real and imagined—is too frank at times. Director Bier’s stylistic tics—she repeatedly frames the human eye in close-up and employs a shaky, cinema-verite style—take some getting used to, but her choice of material is tough to fault. Here, and in her Danish films (After the Wedding, Brothers), she takes an unflinching look at family struggles.

Fire is a film of tremendous performances. Del Toro shines as Jerry, particularly in the scenes between Jerry and Audrey’s children, and Berry stages a major comeback after the dismal Perfect Stranger and the earlier Catwoman. Best of all are the story’s themes—recognition of weakness, and personal reconciliation. While Things We Lost in the Fire is not oriented around faith, its characters exhibit Christ-likeness at times, reaching out to widows and to those in desperate need.

Things are not rosy for everyone at the conclusion of Things We Lost in the Fire, but each character—and each viewer—has been offered something good.

Accept the good.

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  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; some profanity; discussion of adultery, both real and imagined
  • Sex/Nudity: Husband and wife kiss passionately and are shown in bed, in their night clothes; woman swims in a skimpy bikini; a woman invites a man into her bed but nothing sexual occurs
  • Drinking/Smoking: The aftermath of binge drinking is shown; drug use is discussed and shown; harrowing scenes of drug detoxing
  • Violence: A man is shot and killed
  • Religion: Strong theme of being given a second chance; recitation and discussion of the “Serenity Prayer” by drug addicts; necklaces include prominent cross pendants