Movie Review: What They Had

The new movie “What They Had” is about an adult brother and sister with older parents and their mother has advanced Alzheimer’s. With a story like this one, just about everything is hard to watch as their aging mother wanders off in the snow in suburban Chicago and tries to take a train to her childhood home. She thinks a stapler is a phone and over time remembers less and less and recognizes almost no one in her family. The story of this movie is mostly about the logistics of what to do with their mother and what is best for not only her but her husband who is refusing to send her to any care facility.

Any husband having to watch his wife of over 50 years go through something like this is heartbreaking and the real life acting in this movie is outstanding. Starting with Blythe Danner as the older woman with Alzheimer’s, Robert Forster as her long suffering husband, Hillary Swank as her daughter and Micheal Shannon as her brother. It was good to see Hillary Swank in this high quality film as she has had one of the most volatile careers in acting as anyone ever has – having won 2 Oscars and then a series of bad movies after “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005. Hopefully this movie will be a strong comeback for her career.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for What They Had is an extremely high 88% and I agree with this rating and highly recommend this movie. I really disliked the constant smoking in this movie that was 100% completely unnecessary. Hopefully one day this disgusting practice will stop, but for now we all have to tolerate producers accepting money from Tobacco companies and showing people smoking.

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