Film lights ‘Fire’ through emotional struggles following husband’s death

Natalie Smith

By Natalie Smith

Staff Reporter

“Things We Lost in the Fire” is a thoroughly satisfying film that appeals to a wide range of human emotions in a provocative story of loss and recovery.

Centering on the parallels between the life of a newly widowed mother and the recovering junkie she invites to live with her, the film presents is an interesting juxtaposition of grief and addiction that becomes a repeating theme.

When Brian (David Duchovny) intercedes in a domestic dispute between an abusive husband and his wife, he becomes the victim of a fatal street shooting. We meet Brian through a series of flashbacks that his grieving widow, Audrey (Halle Berry), and ex-lawyer turned junkie best friend, Jerry (Benicio Del Toro), fondly remember as better times in the dark lives they seem to be stumbling through post-Brian. Motivated by grief and loneliness, Audrey invites Jerry to move into her garage. Together, they begin a healing process: for Jerry to kick his addiction and get his life back, and for Audrey to move beyond her grief and adjust to the new life she has been thrust into with her two children.

“Things We Lost in the Fire” is well acted and expertly directed. Del Toro’s performance is riveting and perfect; he knows how far to push the dramatic elements of his character without overacting and going over the top. Berry’s role is a breath of fresh air from the talented actress, reminding us what the beautiful Oscar winner is capable of. As the first big-budget Hollywood film for Danish director Susanne Bier, “Things We Lost in the Fire” is a hands-down success. Bier captures the grim reality of her characters’ lives through descriptive cinematography full of intimate shots and stunning effects.

If you are stressed, see this film to remind you why life could be worse. If you are depressed, see it to remind you how life will be better again. If you are simply looking to kill time, see “Things We Lost in the Fire” because it is one of the best stories of the year. But whatever your reason, see it. The film opens Oct. 19.