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Things We Lost in the Fire

Things We Lost in the Fire

4.7 4
Director: Susanne Bier

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Alison Lohman


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A woman who lost her husband in a random act of violence and a heroin addict who was a lifelong friend of the dearly departed discover that the beloved husband and friend's unfortunate passing is actually a blessing in disguise in Open Hearts director Susanne Bier's Dogme-style drama. When her husband (


A woman who lost her husband in a random act of violence and a heroin addict who was a lifelong friend of the dearly departed discover that the beloved husband and friend's unfortunate passing is actually a blessing in disguise in Open Hearts director Susanne Bier's Dogme-style drama. When her husband (David Duchovny) was killed, Audrey Burke (Halle Berry) didn't think she would be able to summon the strength to carry on. Jerry Sunborne (Benicio Del Toro) is a heroin addict who was one of the recently deceased's oldest friends in life, but as a result of his addiction Jerry has lost everything that ever mattered to him. When Audrey discovers that Jerry is the one man who could help her move beyond the dire cycle of grieving that she has fallen into, her offer for him to move in with the family provides the addict with just the incentive he needed to finally get his life back in order.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Things We Lost in the Fire has Oscar written all over it. It's got Oscar-winning actors (Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro), Oscar-worthy subject matter (drug addiction, coping with tragedy), and the director of an Oscar-nominated film (Susanne Bier, whose After the Wedding was Denmark's Foreign Film submission in 2006). But it's missing Oscar's key ingredient -- a spark of je ne sais quoi that would bring it all together into something transcendent. Technically, there's nothing one can identify that comes up short in Bier's film, except maybe a histrionic or two by Berry that got away from her. And there's a certain any-port-in-a-storm interest to the plot's central irony, which is that a recovering heroin addict may be the key puzzle piece to putting a family back together after its husband/father dies. But it's not quite enough that Del Toro does a good job acting out the shakes of going cold turkey, or that Berry gets down the soul-sucking weariness of extended grief. Part of the problem is the fitful nature of Berry's character as written. We can't expect her to be totally composed after her husband is killed, but neither should it surprise us that her erratic treatment of Del Toro's well-intentioned junkie -- come here come here come here, go away go away go away -- ends up knocking him off the wagon. Things We Lost in the Fire is a plenty satisfactory addition to the sizeable group of films where a tragically taken character is mourned over the course of the movie; it just doesn't tell us anything new about that process. There's no reason to excessively criticize it, but excessive praise doesn't feel justified either.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Benicio Del Toro Jerry Sunborne
David Duchovny Steve Burke
Alison Lohman Kelly
Omar Benson Miller Neal
John Carroll Lynch Howard Glassman
Alexis Llewellyn Harper Burke
Halle Berry Dory Burke
Micah Nicolas Berry Dony Burke
Robin Weigert Brenda
Paula Newsome Diane
Sarah Dubrovsky Spring
Maureen Thomas Grandma Ginnie Burke
Patricia Harras Howard's Wife
V.J. Foster Distressed Man
Carolyn Field Teresa Haddock
Marlies Dick Police Officer
Todd Charles Mosher Police Officer
James Lafazanos Arnie
Liam James Cousin Dave
Quinn Lord Cousin Joel
Alejandro Chavarria Backyard Kid
Ken Tremblett Brenda's Husband
Hilary Strang N.A. Meeting Director
Jessica McLeod Harper's Friend
Victoria Campbell Harper's Friend
Gerry Rousseau John in Alley
Abraham Jedidiah Mr. Skopes
Adrian Hough N.A. Meeting Man
Kendall Cross N.A. Meeting Person
Lorena Gale N.A. Meeting Person
R. Nelson Brown N.A. Meeting Person
Hakan Coskuner Alvin the Addict
James Bayliss Misunderstood Dealer
David Campbell Conductor

Technical Credits
Susanne Bier Director
Marnie Ander Costumes/Costume Designer
James Bamford Stunts
Paul Barry Asst. Director
Andrea Brown Casting
Simon Burnett Stunts
Bruce Cannon Editor
Pernille Bech Christensen Editor
David Campbell Musical Arrangement
Glen Dickson Camera Operator
Pippa Harris Executive Producer
Norma Hill-Patton Makeup
Susan Jacobs Musical Direction/Supervision
Barbara Kelly Co-producer
Allan Loeb Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Karen Matthews Costumes/Costume Designer
Sam Mendes Producer
Sam Mercer Producer
Gerald Paetz Stunts
Gustavo Santaolalla Score Composer
Richard Sherman Production Designer
Wade Simmons Stunts
Morten Søborg Camera Operator
Johan Söderqvist Score Composer
Tom Stern Cinematographer
Geoff Wallace Art Director
Debra Zane Casting


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Things We Lost in the Fire 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Few films released last year have the quiet sensitivity in writing (Allan Loeb), direction (Susanne Bier), cinematography (Tom Stern), and acting (Berry, Del Toro, Duchovny) as this gem of a movie. Taking on a subject of grief after a sudden traumatic death and the way it affects family and friends would seem like a tedious subject for a two hour film, but THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE proves again that care and devotion in telling a difficult story with restraint and tenderness is far more compelling that many of the 'big' movies that fill the theaters with more superficial topics. Brian Burke (David Duchovny) is a generously warm man to his beautiful wife Audrey (Halle Berry), their son Dory (Micah Berry), and daughter Harper (Alexis Llewellyn) as well as to his longtime, childhood friend Jerry Sunborne (Benecio Del Toro) who is constantly struggling with an addiction to heroin. Brian is suddenly dead as the film opens and the friends are gathered at the Burke home for the funeral. Audrey is devastated by the abrupt loss and quietly bears her shock in order to be present for her children. During the reception Audrey suddenly remembers she has not informed Brian's best friend Jerry of his death and sends her brother to fetch him for the services. We meet the wasted Jerry, the shambles of his heroin-addicted life obvious in his tiny apartment, and yet when Jerry hears the news of Brian's death, he is profoundly shocked: Brian is the only friend he has. Jerry makes himself presentable and attends the funeral and despite the fact that Audrey had always considered Jerry a 'weight' on Brian, the two offer each other a zone of connection that cannot be filled by any other. Slowly Jerry becomes part of the Burke household and his role in offering love to the children and solace and protection to Audry results in changes in Jerry's life that provides one bit of evidence of the redemption that can occur from shared grieving. 'Things', such as those items lost in a fire at the Burke's in the past, are simply 'things': interpersonal connection, hope, and the 'light from within' are what truly matter. Berry and Del Toro give finely nuanced performances in these difficult roles, further establishing their credentials as being two of our finest actors in film. But the entire cast of this film is pitch-perfect and under the direction of Bier communicates powerfully with the viewer. The extraordinary camera work concentrates on extreme closeup views of eyes, hands, lips and tears and allows the viewer an intimate relationship with these characters. Johan Söderqvist provides a subtle musical score that underlines the story without calling attention to itself. For this viewer this is hands down one of the finest films of 2007. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
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