“What we remember, and how we order and
interpret what we believe to be true, are what shapes who we are.”
― Stephen Elliott
This movie focuses on the projection of blame we place on other people, and the ability for us to to believe our own interpretations of our memories to the point where they become real.
Memories shape who we are as people. They impact our perceptions of the world and the people in it. But what if our lives are shaped by memories that aren’t entirely true? Our life takes a new path with every new interpretation. It effects how we think, the choices we make, our attitudes, and sometimes even our reason for living.
Our main character, Stephen Elliot, is a writer turned famous from his memoir describing life with his estranged father, the abuse he’d suffered as a kid, and the aftermath of his life following his father’s death. Things are going well for the young writer as he’s just been offered a deal with Penguin Publishing and he’s met a beautiful woman, until we discover that his father is still alive.
From that point on, Elliot’s life takes a turn for the worst and he quickly begins to spiral out of control. At the same time, a man is on trial for the murder of his wife who had recently gone missing without a trace. Elliot’s intention is to write his next book using details from the murder trial to create a crime novel. The more he follows the trial, he begins to draw parallels between his life and relationship to his father with the man accused and his relationship with his children. What Franco begins to discover, is more than he thought was even possible. All his life, he had never considered or questioned what he thought to be true, and the truth begins to spill out as Elliot gets closer and closer to self destruction.
This movie is not for everyone. It does not follow a typical main-stream movie plot, and the ending is not as mind blowing as you might expect based on what it seems to suggest. It is dramatic, suspenseful in a stressful rather than thrilling way, and realistic.
I am very glad that I didn’t look at the critics reviews, otherwise I would have overlooked it. Rotten Tomatoes only gave it a 19%, IMDB a 5.2/10, and the A.V. club a 2.5/5. I read a little into the reviews and many of them read that there was no passion, weight, and wasn’t convincing enough. Personally, I disagree. I thought it was rather honest and true to how someone might actually deal with their traumatic memories. The character took the route of numbing and suppressing what he interpreted a pain, instead of leashing it out in what one may describe as a more passionate or convincing way.
It’s a slow going movie, but worth the patience. For me, a movie should move you, teach you, or make you rethink something in order to be ‘good’ which is why I thought this one was worth the watch.
I would give this movie a 6.5/10.
Also, a good soundtrack always helps! Below are three of my favorite songs from the movie.