Tag Archives: Sean Penn

Throwback Thursday-Mystic River (2003)

Law and Order fans are used to crimes solved within the time span of an 1 hour television show. In real life, this process is not always so quick or painless.

In the 2003 movie, Mystic River, Dave (Tim Robbins), Sean (Kevin Bacon) and Jimmy (Sean Penn) have been friends since they were boys. In 1975, Dave is abducted and sexually abused by strangers. He escapes his attackers, but the scars of that experience are always just below the surface. Flashing forward to the present, Jimmy has a prison record and three children. When his daughter, Katie (Emmy Rossum) is found dead, and Sean, who now works the homicide beat accuses Dave of killing Katie.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is not so cut and dry when it comes to the narrative. There are questions to be answered. The problem is that the answers are murky, complicated and tied to unresolved issues from the past. But that is what I like about this film. It has enough drama and intensity to keep the audience’s attention without going over the top.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-I Am Sam (2001)

The greatest love in the world is a parent’s love for their child.

In the 2001 film, I Am Sam, Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) is a single father with a mental handicap caring for his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning). The problem is that Lucy is growing up and is starting to exceed her father’s emotional and mental capabilities.

Concerned that Sam is unable to care for his daughter, Lucy is taken away from him by the authorities. Sam turns to Rita Harrison Williams (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him re-gain custody of his daughter. Rita, a high-profile attorney who usually represents clients who can pay large sums, is initially hesitant to take the case pro bono. Will Rita take the case and if she does, will Sam regain custody of his daughter?

This movie could have easily gone in the direction of the schmaltzy overworked drama. Thankfully, it does not. For all of the stuff that is said in the media (and the tabloids especially) about Sean Penn, he is an amazing actor. What makes his performance radiate beyond the screen and his character’s limitations is Sam’s love for his daughter. While he does not understand much of the world, he knows that his daughter is his world and he will fight to keep her in his life.

Michelle Pfeiffer puts in another standout performance with this role. Rita may have achieved much in her life, but there is something missing. What I truly appreciated about her character arc is the emotional journey Rita goes on.

But the standout performance goes to Dakota Fanning. At the then young age of 7, not only does she hold her own with her costars who are decades older than she is, but her performance is shows a maturity that went beyond her youth.

I absolutely recommend this film.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies