This satisfying ensemble of Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco shows the strain, the love, the secrets between brother and sister as they take responsibility to care for their nursing-home-bound father (Bosco). This is as close to an ‘art house’ movie that Hollywood can get.
The film subtly shows the siblings cope with shreds of their shared past as they do their best to manage their own mid-life crises while dealing with their dying father. When you’re not wincing, you’re chuckling at the dry humor in exchanges between brother and sister.
Vignettes that make up the movie ring true scene after scene. You can sense the institutional smell of the nursing home, the scent of the siblings' perspiration in their rumpled clothes, and the grudging bond of shared sorrow and love that lie beneath their conflicting ideas about their father's care, their own failing professional aspirations and personal relationships.
The simple story isn’t gussied up with pretty details. The way the three dress, the interiors of the siblings' living spaces, and their shaky relationships with the opposite sex fit together like pieces of a miniature jigsaw puzzle.
The sibling’s sharp edged memories of their childhood could easily drive a wedge between them. They’re making the peace with each other that they could never achieve with their father.
The acting is brilliant, funny, sad, and uplifting. The only place Hollywood gets in the way is the tidy resolution in the last few minutes. Luckily, the previous 110 minutes of honest filmmaking leave a more lasting impact.