"True Compassion Never Surrenders"
What You Need To Know:
Watching Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro face the struggles that their characters undergo is a powerful, very moving experience. The script and the movie display a strong moral core that makes this a morally uplifting experience. There is too much rough foul language and some strong drug references, however, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution.
(BB, C, LLL, V, N, A, DD, M) Strong moral worldview with light redemptive content about recovering from tragedy and drug addiction and standing by people and helping them when they need it the most, plus a couple positive references to God and the Serenity Prayer in recovery programs centering on meetings at a Narcotics Anonymous group; some violence treated in a light manner such as man has been beating girlfriend, man points gun at another man and shot is heard, and distraught widow beats her fists against man trying to comfort her; about 27 obscenities (including “f” words), two strong profanities, one light profanity, and brief vomiting as man tries to shake off a heroin addiction relapse; no sex scenes but brief kissing, married couple lie in bed together, and recently widowed woman suffering insomnia asks male guest to rub her ear while in bed like her late husband did so she can go to sleep; brief upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking and strong references to suffering from heroin addiction but trying to recover from it, including a sequence where he goes “Cold Turkey” trying to shake off a relapse, plus man refuses to get heroin for an emotionally distraught, curious woman; and, minor character complains about his wife and talks about getting a divorce and some tension between married couple about man’s best friend, a heroin addict who the wife thinks is a lost cause.
THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE is one of those dramas that creeps up on viewers as they’re watching it. It starts off as kind of a TV Movie of the Week for the big screen, then its power suddenly grows until you find yourself weeping and caring deeply for the characters and their fate.
Halle Berry stars as Audrey Burke, loving wife of Brian, a successful developer played by David Duchovny. Audrey and Brian has two beautiful young children, but Audrey is concerned about Brian’s friendship with his childhood friend, Jerry Sunborne (played by Benicio Del Toro), a lawyer who has become a heroin addict. Brian helps Jerry by buying groceries and by trying to encourage his friend, but Audrey thinks Jerry is a lost cause. Brian reminds Audrey that she didn’t know Jerry when he was younger and free from drugs.
One night, while getting ice cream for the children, Brian’s compassion for other people gets him killed when he tries to stop a man from beating up his girlfriend. The man shoots them both and, apparently, turns the gun on himself.
Now adrift and struggling, despite the financial legacy her husband left the family, Audrey impulsively turns to Jerry. She invites Jerry to the funeral and then invites him to move into the room adjacent to their garage, which has been remodeled after a fire.
Although he struggles daily to stay off drugs, Jerry discovers a core of inner strength when he finds himself in the role of surrogate parent and friend to Audrey’s son and daughter. Audrey still hasn’t faced the horrible loss of her beloved husband, however. The overwhelming pain she keeps hidden threatens to destroy both Jerry’s recovery and her own.
Watching Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro face the struggles that their characters undergo is a powerful, very moving experience. The script and the movie also display a strong moral core that makes this a morally uplifting experience, even though the movie does not offer a strong spiritual, God-centered component to go along with that. Perhaps the main moral message viewers can take from this movie is that compassion for others and for the health of your own soul requires a commitment that is deep and persistent. Thus, true compassion never gives up, never surrenders. It always endures. Of course, this is also what the Apostle Paul says about love in 1 Cor. 13 – “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Another important moral message in this movie is the message that people should not let their pride get in the way of receiving favors from other people, or blessings in life. “Accept the good” is a favorite phrase of Audrey’s husband, Brian.
These potent themes, coupled with the movie’s superb performances, take this drama to another level, and a very rewarding and enriching level at that. The movie contains, however, too much rough foul language and some strong drug references, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution. The good news is that the movie has a positive message that rebukes drug addiction and favors recovery programs where people help people and where people rely on God and His power. A minor but important character rebukes Jerry for leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting before the group recites the Serenity Prayer to God.