Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
Written by Guillermo Arriaga
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky
Maria Bello (Alana Neil)
Ellen Page (Jessica Lane)
Rachel Leigh Cook (Alison Neil)
Dougray Scott (Robert Neil)
Mark Ruffalo (Mr. Jack Swigg)
Laura Linney (Katherine Lane)
Renee Zellweger (Cristine Swigg)
Tagline: "Normal is not what you’ve made it out to be"
Synopsis: The tale of three stories connecting after the same incident involving an apparently normal family. A physically abusive mother (Bello) overdoes a beating one day and ends up murdering her daughter (Cook). Lack of evidence leads the mother to being declared innocent and she begins to crush under the weight of her guilt, while her husband (Scott) begins to second-guess her sanity. The second story is about best friend (Page) and the toll that the death is t aking on her. She beings brutalizing her mother (Linney) and transforms into a mute during school hours. Her teacher (Ruffalo) becomes excessively worried about her slowly falls in love with his student, drawing the suspicion of his ignored wife (Zellweger). Determined to come to terms with the circumstances, he calls a conference with both mothers, ending in a violent clash of characters and emotions.
What the press would say:From the team that brought you Amores Perros and 21 Grams, along with master cinematographer Peter Suschitzky (A History of Violence) comes an emotionally-charged psychological drama unlike any other. Acting doesn’t get much better in what is sure to be Iñárritu’s next Academy Award-winning film. Bello is at her highest level as the abusive mother with a guilty conscience, and she carries the film from beginning to end. While Rachel Leigh Cook’s scene is short, she allows us to feel for her character and she causes her death to deal a huge blow to the audience as well as the characters. Ellen Page’s acting rivals that of actors much older than her. Her rise to fame has been a steep one, and this may garner her the Oscar nomination which will no doubt change her career for the better. She brings great presence to the screen, even with her silence, but her face tells us everything. Linney gives her best performance to date as the mother of a troubled child. Her scenes bring us to extreme sadness, and the audience begins to feel for her more than any of the characters. Scott and Ruffalo provide the testosterone, and both are very convincing in their vastly different roles. Scott plays a frightened husband who wishes to leave his wife but loves her too much to do it. Ruffalo is a teacher who cares for his student, and slowly finds himself developing an attraction to her. Caught between his suspicious wife (Zellweger) and his desires, he plays a key part in the unexpected and shocking ending. To quote a reviewer of You Can Count on Me, Ruffalo is a “second coming of Marlon Brando.” These performances combined with a truly original screenplay, a haunting score, amazing direction and beautiful cinematography, Inarritu and company hav e brought us yet another soon-to-be classic.
Best Original Screenplay
Best Original Score
Best Actress-Maria Bello
Best Actress- Ellen Page
Best Actor- Mark Ruffalo
Best Supporting Actress- Rachel Leigh Cook
Best Supporting Actress- Laura Linney