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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Reservation Road (review)

The gloom of inevitable tragedy that casts a pall over the closeness of small-town Connecticut — and two powerful and pitiful performances — not only save this family melodrama from itself: they make it a must-see for fans of stars Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo… and for anyone keen to figure out why they are among the best young actors working today. A traffic accident on the titular stretch of country road brings Phoenix’s (We Own the Night) college prof — and husband and father — and Ruffalo’s (Zodiac) lawyer and divorced dad together in a mesh of grief and guilt the interconnections of which they are not even aware of at first. Coincidences that could have felt contrived, absent the force of their rooted and riveting descents into obsession and reaches for redemption, slide by, easily forgiven — Hotel Rwanda director Terry George, working from the novel by John Burnham Schwartz, knows how to avoid sentimentality in what is of necessity a sentimental story. Less easy to forgive is yet another cold, calculated turn by Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond), as Phoenix’s harpish wife — she is always hard to accept as a character with any kind of genuine emotions, and can’t stand up to the boys, which would have been the grace note to send the film into a more rarefied realm.

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MPAA: rated R for language and some disturbing images

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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  • matt

    WOAH? Connelly hard to except as a character with any kind of real emotions?? Her performance in this film was the most honest and heartbreaking…this is coming from someone who saw a mother go through a very similiar experience first hand…Connelly always does solid work? Where did this comment come from??

  • efebrahim

    perhaps in contrast to matt here, but whatevs. in these days of internet desert and void, where everyone is busy and yet no work is being done, i can still find solace in the fact that there u are, since the fraggling nineties, telling the truth. harder than it looks. been wonderin about this for a while and since it’s not reviewed by ebert (not my go to guy, at least not before i come to you, but you know, he gets it across somehow), here i am and now i know. kisses and hugs from sweden and plz keep it up, as a modern helpful reliable voice on the net, u damn near stand alone

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