Things We Lost in the Fire

Things We Lost In The Fire

In Theatres: 
Oct 19, 2007
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 59 Minutes

It is hard to replace a perfect husband and father. Or is it?  “Things We Lost in the Fire” is the English-language debut film for Oscar-nominated Danish director Susanne Bier (“After the Wedding”). You will probably hear her name more often over the next two years because two of her Danish films, “Open Hearts” and “Brothers”, are being remade into English versions. Okay, now back to the main topic.

Halle Berry plays Audrey Burke, a wife of a successful real estate developer, Brian, and a mother of two beautiful children. Audrey is very happy with her life and marriage, except that she does not approve of her husband’s best friend, Jerry.

When Audrey suddenly becomes a widow, she gradually opens up to Jerry. They are indeed an odd couple, but they have something in common. Audrey is recovering from a loss of her husband, Jerry is a recovering drug addict, both love(d) Brian very much, and both need help. Will their relationship go beyond friendship?

Although this is yet another role of a vulnerable and available woman for Halle Berry, I think Halle’s performance is even better in this movie than in her Oscar-winning role in “Monster’s Ball”. Her acting does not overshadow her beauty, and I am touched by her tears and agony. She does not use too much make-up, so that she looks like a natural and real woman, wife and mother.

I am actually even more impressed with Benecio Del Toro. I think he gives an Oscar-worthy performance portraying Jerry. I cannot think of any other actor to play this role so well. As he slowly turns his life around, he changes from a scary, lonely, hopeless and filthy junkie to a boyish, sympathetic and charming character. His facial expressions, especially his big eyes, often do not need additional words.

David Duchovny gives a memorable appearance playing Audrey’s husband. Alison Lohman appears only briefly, but her character is an important key for both Audrey’s and Jerry’s recovery.

Overall, “Things We Lost in the Fire” is a great melodrama which has natural human reactions to love, jealousy, grief, addiction, frustration, forgiveness, and hope. There are scenes in which both Audrey and Jerry cannot hold their emotions. Although the causes and circumstances of the outbursts are different, this is a realistic story about two people  bonded by accident, but seeking a way to a new life. Halle Berry and Benecio Del Toro fans will not be disappointed.

Review by Pat Trabi