MOVIE OF THE WEEK, November 2, 2018: WHAT THEY HAD

motw logo 1-35What They Had, the first feature from actress-turned-writer/director Elizabeth Chomko, is a stirring family drama in which adult siblings, Bridget (Hilary Swank) and Nick (Michael Shannon) are trying to cope with their mother’s (Blythe Danner) progressive dementia and their father’s (Robert Forster) denial of her disability. Chomko’s well-crafted script and sensitive direction, and the superb performances from the stellar ensemble bring a balance of heartbreak and humor to this painful and entirely relatable situation.

Read more

WHAT THEY HAD – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

“Grandma drank the holy water,” says Taissa Farmiga’s moody college student. “At least she’s hydrated,” says Michael Shannon as her uncle who laughs mostly to keep him and the audience from crying. That first-time filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko can pull off this sort of humor in a movie that revolves around the evil disease that is dementia is a feat achieved primarily based on the strength of her casting choices.

Read more

WHAT THEY HAD – Review by Loren King

Pangs of authenticity fill Elizabeth Chomko‘s debut feature What They Had and with good reason. Chomko based her film on her own experience with her grandmother’s dementia and the home movies we see in this tender family drama belong to her. The family dynamics and emotional push-pull in Chomko’s story of how various family members deal with the reality of Alzheimer’s Disease has a truthfulness that feels earned.

Read more

WHAT THEY HAD – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Writer-director Elizabeth Chomko’s debut film is a simultaneously sharp and tender portrait of longstanding, interconnected family squabbles and hidden resentments that finally come to a head with a near-tragedy. Achingly affecting performances all around — particularly Blythe Danner’s and Michael Shannon’s — and oh-so-many poignant details ground What They Had in melancholy authenticity.

Read more

WHAT THEY HAD – Review by Cate Marquis

What They Had draws a moving and remarkably accurate picture of the challenges grown children face when a parent has Alzheimers. It is a crisis increasing number of families will face with a disease that only ever gets worse. Writer/director Elizabeth Chomko drew on her own family’s experience for this family drama that is boldly truthful as well as engrossing.

Read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 31 – November 4: LOVING

The landmark case of Loving v. Virginia challenged the Anti-miscegenation in the US, and arguably changed the country. But at the centre of the story were two people who were in love and wanted to be married.Opening Nov. 4, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Loving. Read on…

Read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, March 14 – March 20: MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Opening March 18, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Midnight Special, the latest cerebral sci-fi thriller from young writer/director Jeff Nichols starring Kirsten Dunst and Michael Shannon. Read on…

Read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 28-October 4: FREEHELD

Opening October 2, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore as a terminally ill police officer fighting to ensure that her pension goes to her partner (Ellen Page). Read on…

Read more