Things We Lost in the Fire

By John Berkowitz,
After the loss of a her husband, a widow turns to her husband's best friend for help with her grieving.
Author Rating: 
3.5 Stars

Finally, Halle Berry has ventured out to take on serious roles again, rather than settling for summer popcorn flicks. She went from Oscar to Razzie in one click when she portrayed Catwoman. Now she's proving why flashing your chest in a raunchy sex scene isn't enough to take home the golden statue. Halle Berry shares the headline with a triumphant return for Benicio Del Toro, an actor who seems to have taken a Chris Tucker-like absence, being very selective in his choosing.

Together, these two tell a heart warming story of the struggle to overcome tragedy and addiction through the catharsis of mutual support. Audrey Burke (Halle Berry) and Jerry Sunborne (Benico Del Toro) are from opposite worlds, but are brought together through the death of Audrey's husband, Steven (David Duchovny), who is Jerry's lifelong, best friend. Following the death of Steven, Audrey reaches out to Jerry, a man she had long despised as he's a recovering heroin addict constantly relapsing, to move in and help her through this harrowing time.

The film is presented in a very captivating manner, one that is contrary to other films dealing with the same subject matter. Rather than going from point A to point B, establishing David Duchovny is living, then murdered, and jumping to the aftermath, we jump back and forth from the present to the past. This happens in the first third of the film, whereas afterward we stay in the present. Through these flashbacks, Steven is alive and we learn of his great contributions to his friends and family and why his death was so earth-shattering to those around him.

The one problem I found with this structure was that it was a bit convoluted and at times it's nebulous as to which point in time you're actually watching. It's only after a few scenes of this style that you realize and pick up on the pattern. I felt it spent too much time focusing on the remnants of Steven's life, ultimately leading the end to drag on just a tad and a lot of jump cuts in the progression of time.

The film, at times, has these brief, subtle glitches where something in the scene just seems out of place, resulting in the movement of the story being a little questionable. Steven's past, told in the flashbacks, not only focuses on him, but reveals Audrey's distaste towards Jerry, as well as the peaks and troughs of this small world of characters' lives. As a mediator, Steven balances his family life and lifetime friendship with Jerry. Even though Jerry's a bum in and out of drugs, Steven's compassion is inspiring to watch.

The commonality of Steven brings Audrey and Jerry together to face their fears by leaning on one another. It's not just them by themselves though, as Audrey's kids help both of them. These two are adorable and innocent as, through their na


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