I'm actually the opposite of a drama fan- but this movie really touched me, and although it's quite tough to take in, I loved it.I think above all, one has to bow to Guillermo Arriaga, the writer, as "21 Grams" features probably the best script I've ever seen. I guess the story itself is not that new, but the way how it's done is simply excellent. The first, say, 30 minutes are just scraps- moments in the lives of the three main characters that mean absolutely nothing to the viewer yet . Adding to that initial confusion is the fact that these scraps are not in <more>
temporal order so that in the beginning personally I wasn't sure I'd be able to follow- it was more like a music video that's just not making any sense at all. But then the pieces begin to come together just beautifully until in the end you can see the whole picture. Usually in these episode movies everything comes together at once somewhere in the middle of the film, but in "21 Grams" the viewer puts the pieces together one after another- like a jigsaw puzzle, and every bit as satisfying when everything's completed. This truly is a masterpiece script-wise, and I've never seen anything like it.That brilliant script is supported by excellent actors. Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio del Toro are delivering the most convincing acting performance I've ever witnessed. Like when Christina Watts screams at Paul Penn trying to get rid of all of her anger, frustration, grief and hate: I usually think these emotional outbursts don't seem real on screen, but in this movie it is just deeply touching. I haven't seen "Mystic River" yet, but if Sean Penn was as good as he is in "21 Grams" then the Oscar finally really went to someone who truly deserved it. And Benicio del Toro really is every inch the wonderful actor his reputation claims I saw him for the first time but had heard a lot of him before, so I was very curious .Finally, thank you, Mr. Inárritu for putting everything together this nicely. You've made a very impressing 100 % quality movie.
An intelligent, sensitive and human portray of fatality (by SAYSI)
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, becomes with " 21Grams" a master craftsman that can push psychological boundaries and proves that to understand the Americans, you don't have to be one. And very often foreign directors that tackle American psyche do so in an intelligent and often very accurate and sensible way. Even though this film could have had characters from any country. Of course this is the case with the director of this brilliant film. I had to see it twice under very different circumstances and both times i left with a profound satisfaction of watching a great film. The <more>
work of Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro , Naomi Watts and Charlotte Gainsbourg is superb. Overall for me, the best film of 2003
A Depressing Story, One of the Saddest Movies Ever (by claudio_carvalho)
Cristina Peck Naomi Watts is a well-married housewife, living with her two lovely daughters and her husband in a comfortable house. Paul Rivers Sean Penn is a mathematician, married with Mary Rivers Charlotte Gainsbourg and having troubles with his heart, needing an urgent transplantation and waiting for a donator. Jack Jordan Benicio Del Toro is a former drug dealer and small time crook, married with Marienne Jordan Melissa Meo and having a son and a daughter, who found his salvation in Jesus, becoming a good man and a fanatic religious. A horrible car accident joins the lives of <more>
Cristina, Paul and Jack, affecting their families and friends. In order to avoid spoilers, I do not intend to go any further in my summary of the plot."21 Grams" is a movie supported by a great screenplay, magnificent direction and wonderful interpretations. The screenplay presents the story in non-chronological fragments, like in "Pulp Fiction", disclosing in pieces like a puzzle a depressing story, certainly in one of the saddest movies ever. The direction of Alejandro González Anirritu is impressive. This is the second movie directed by him that I saw the other one was "Amores Perros" and both of them are excellent films. The greatest reference I can mention is the IMDb User Rating: "Amores Perros" top 250: #139, with 8.2 and "21 Grams" top 250: #188, with 8.0 . Therefore, many viewers share my opinion in this regard. The performance of the cast is something unique: Naomi Watts proves that she is not only a beautiful face and body on the screen, but also a terrific actress, being nominated by the Academy for the Best Actress Award. Benicio Del Toro, who was found some years ago, has another great performance in an important role, the trigger of the situations exposed in the story. Sean Penn is an outstanding actor, always a synonym of high-quality performance and it is not necessary to say thing else about him. Melissa Meo, Charlotte Gainsbourg and the rest of the cast have inspired acting. My vote is ten. Title Brazil :'21 Gramas' '21Grams'
Many movies in the modern era have experimented with fractured chronology, but most of the time this technique is used for entertainment purposes only. "21 Grams" is an intense and thoughtful film enriched by this technique, taken to an extreme I've never seen before. We're not talking "Pulp Fiction" here, where a small series of vignettes are arranged out of sequence. Every individual scene in "21 Grams" seems to be distributed almost at random anywhere in the film. You have to concentrate when seeing this film for the first time, because you'll have <more>
trouble figuring out what's going on, and even as a plot starts to emerge, some of the details won't be understandable until the very end. But it pays off: this isn't like "Memento" or "Mulholland Drive," where you may need multiple viewings to understand it all. By the end of this film, the story turns out to be quite straightforward. It's like seeing a gigantic jigsaw puzzle gradually pieced together.Unlike many other films that use this sort of device, "21 Grams" is a character drama, not a psychological thriller. The story would still work if it were told in chronological order. Why the scenes are arranged as they are is not altogether clear, on the surface. I felt like I was watching a mystery, but after everything came together it became evident that none of the mystery was contained in the plot itself. This fact has led some critics to suggest that the scrambled scene arrangement is nothing more than a cute gimmick designed to make the film more engaging. But I believe that the device does serve a legitimate purpose, by drawing out the complexity of the characters and their situations.Life is not good for the three principal characters, and it isn't getting better. Sean Penn plays a 40-something man with a failing heart, Naomi Watts plays a young woman facing great tragedy, and Benicio Del Toro plays an ex-con consumed by guilt. Penn and Watts come off as ordinary individuals reacting as anyone might under the circumstances, but Del Toro's character is particularly fascinating. He's been rehabilitated through religion, but he's still far from perfect. As a father, he has a scary presence that makes him seem borderline abusive at times. But he has developed a powerful conscience. Is he right to hate himself for what he did? The movie never answers that question. I just appreciated that the film resisted the temptation to make him into a caricature. He is neither hero nor villain. He is simply understandable on a very basic human level, as are the other two characters.We have the feeling that Watts and Penn are wrong to condemn him as strongly as they do. They do not understand his situation, or that he's suffering just about as much as they are. On the other hand, we as viewers can perfectly understand where Watts is coming from. That's what makes the scrambled scene arrangement so effective: it never allows any one character to gain our total sympathy. By the time we've sorted out the plot threads, we've identified with all three characters on an emotional level while at the same time understanding their faults. These people are trapped in their own limited worlds, and with our omniscient viewpoint we can scarcely blame any one of them for their feelings or actions. We can see clearly what these characters cannot, which is that they are more victims of cruel fate than people who are truly guilty of anything.What is the movie's message? That people shouldn't be so quick to judge others? That could be one interpretation, but what's nice about the film is that it doesn't hammer this lesson into us. It just tells a moving and stirring tale about complex characters, and viewers can take from it what they please. The title refers to a parapsychological belief about the weight of the human soul, and it's used in this film as a metaphor for the fragility of life. If life is fragile, then it's also precious, and people need not waste their time on vengeance.
A movie directed in inimitable style, Inarritu's 21 Grams is a provocative, deeply moving filmic work that explores several fundamental questions: What is a life, what is its value, and can we place a value on it? Directed in a series of small, seemingly disconnected fragments that come together as the film progresses, the film is thus shot in a style deeply unfamiliar to American moviegoers. At the beginning, most American viewers will find the choppy, nonlinear timeline distracting and frustrating - a cinematic form of coitus interruptus where once on the verge of revealing an <more>
underlying plot concept, the fragment abruptly stops and is picked up at an unrelated point. This style continues throughout, but don't worry. The answers do come after a while.It is worth noting that the actual storyline, when told linearly, is not as gripping as when told in this style. The linear form would resemble a typical mindless story of the wounded seeking revenge. The way Inarritu constructs the story allows him to give the viewer a sense of where various characters are at the same time without the appearance of repetition. It allows moviegoers to see actual events first, then form associations later. There is a sense of, "Oh, now I get it!" that would be conspicuously absent if 21 Grams were told linearly.Moving on, the performances of the actors and actresses in the film are incredible. All are believable. The animalistic hatred of Christina Peck Naomi Watts for Jack Jordan Benicio Del Toro , the deeply troubled father who regrets his big mistake and has become a born again Christian, is palpable throughout. Paul Rivers Sean Penn is genuine in his efforts to repay, literally, a life debt. The performances breathe further life into the series of events that 21 Grams attempts to chronicle.By the film's ending, the entire tale of what has transpired is revealed to the viewer. Since key plot elements often appear in several of the disconnected sequences, they come to be points of reference that astute moviegoers can use to sort the rest of the plot. By the end, everything is complete. The title is finally put into context, and the attempt to answer the three previously mentioned fundamental questions is made. Yes, at the beginning, this movie may not seem to make much sense, and it may even be frustrating to watch. Still, resist the temptation to get up and leave the theater. Stick around and watch the whole thing. The pieces do ultimately fall into place. I promise. And besides, there's only one way to find out.
This movie is very, very good. Unlike some others I do not think the unchronological storytelling hurts the movie, on the contrary I think that the pieces that the viewer has to put together in order to get the picture of the whole story just make it more interesting. On the other hand, no matter how good the movie actually is it is one step short of masterpiece. It is like you are climbing to heaven but you cannot make it over the last step. The story is good, the filming is good, the acting is good, but there is still SOMETHING missing for this movie to be added to my hall of all time <more>
faves. Maybe it is the music, this film does not have a strong score, maybe all the components do not add up well together... It is hard to describe why, but I was not as stunned as I usually am after watching movies I rate at 10. Thus, I was deciding between 8 a 9, finally I voted 9 but it is a rather weak one.
Absorbing and powerful direction & acting; the story structure was less than great (by Quinoa1984)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made a well-deserved leap into the renown film-making pool with Amores Perros, and his follow up 21 Grams shows him with plenty of talent to spare. He also gets three or more, depends on how effective one thinks the supporting performance were forceful, compelling performances out of Sean Penn, Benicio Del-Torro, and Naomi Watts. They're involved in three interlocking stories- Penn as a mathematician with a rottening health and a near-rottening relationship; Del-Torro's found Jesus Christ after being in and out of jail for part of his life; Watts is a <more>
house-wife who may have some deep troubles within her mind. Each of the three leads doesn't go for cheap drama, and each one plunges the depths of their own abilities to find truths that might not be possible with lesser material or a lesser director. I won't say much more about the stories, however I do have something to say about the structure of the film. The script brings some mesmerizing scenes, ones with great tragedy that bring out a viewer's compassion. Never-the-less, there was something about the structure that I didn't think was all that great. In films like Once Upon a Time in America, Reservoir Dogs, and even Memento, the scrambled story structure had a purpose, adding appropriate twists and turns for the audience. 21 Grams like Amores Perros in a sense has that non-linear basis to it too, and sometimes it works for the audience to react. But I think there would be a lot more power to how these characters' fates and tragedies unfold if it was told linearly from start to finish. In many moments in the film I found myself knowing a little too much before a particular scene unfolded, or I found myself guessing about something that I didn't need to one of the points of non-linear storytelling is answers first, questions later . It wasn't an aspect that made the film bad, yet the stock that writer Guillermo Arriaga and director Inarritu put into this structure over interlocking the stories in order, or perhaps telling each story separately, is the film's only drawback.
An unlikely freak accident progressively brings three people together to a gripping yet tragic conclusion.Using a non-linear exposition we are led through the three leads' existences and how one key moment changed their lives completely, and while this approach at times might hinder the film's emotional impact in lieu of cinematic technique, the story told in 21 GRAMS is nonetheless powerful thanks to the performances of Naomi Watts, Benicio Del Toro, and Sean Penn. Of the three there are no stand-outs: all bring their heart and soul into their roles and Sean Penn could have easily <more>
won the Academy Award for Best Actor for this film since here, his role is rather difficult as his is more a plot device that effectively develops motives to act the way he does later on, but since his approach is so underplayed and profoundly sad, lost at times, we feel for him even when we are led to understand his condition is fatal regardless. Watts is all-out powerful, and anyone who can recall her beginnings in grade-Z horror films will certainly see a strong actress here: to see her receive the news of her husband's death early on is a stand-alone as an equally good Clea duVall looks on, horrified , haunting moment. Del Toro, on the other hand, has an incredible, unique way of communicating his great inner torment through little more than his sleepy eyes; I've never seen acting this subtle yet moving. Even though he's done something clearly horrible, we care more for him because of his absolute, sincere change: this is an essentially good man who made a wrong turn and has a lifetime to pay for it.21 GRAMS is a very strong movie, but at times, it comes too close to becoming too pessimistic to watch; however this is only a slight quibble.
I watched ''21 Grams '' after many people friends and dad suggested me that the movie was great. Well,the movie is intense, depressing, but it is good for sure: all the actors were great in their roles,specially Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts. Naomi, by the way, really surprised me for good, I am so used to see her in 'cute roles', and when I saw her as a young mother, crying in the hospital scene, when she finds out that her family died, I thought that she wasn't, after all, just a pretty face on the screen. The message of this movie, is that we can lose our <more>
loved ones at any moment, and of course, we'll miss them eternally, but we must be strong and realize that life goes on, like when Christina's father suggests for her to move on,at her husband's and daughters' funeral. And he knows what he is talking about, since he also lost his wife Also how much we are all connected to each other and how accidents can affect all people's life, some to worst Jack's and Christina's case and others to a better condition Paul's case, with a heart donated after the accident what is the big irony of life.''21 Grams'' is a movie which interweaves several plot lines and it is edited in a non-linear arrangement, that can bother many people and make us confused in the beginning. A good choice would be to watch the movie 2 times to get it well The plot shows the consequences of a tragic automobile accident that changed the life of the three main characters: Jack Jordan, a former convict,Paul Rivers, a mathematics professor with a heart condition and Christina Peck, a young mother who is recovering from a drug addiction with a supportive husband and their two daughters.