"Catholic Family Struggles with a Tough Decision"
In WHAT THEY HAD, a woman in Los Angeles must return home to Chicago after she receives an urgent call from her brother, asking for help with their mother ridden with Alzheimer’s. WHAT THEY HAD is filled with heart and lots of laughter in its portrayal of a dysfunctional but loving Catholic family, but it has a high number of gratuitous obscenities and strong profanities, plus some other objectionable content, which warrant extreme caution.
The movie begins with a distressing phone call from a scared father, who wakes up in the middle of the night seeing that his wife, who has Alzheimer’s, is missing. Their daughter, Bridget, immediately returns to Chicago with her daughter to help out her brother, who has been taking care of his parents for a while now. They find their mother in the hospital after she was miles away riding the trains for hours. The nurse expresses how dangerous it is for a woman her age to wander around by herself at night. She also conducts a pelvic exam to ensure she wasn’t assaulted sexually.
After the family realizes the gravity of the situation, the son Nick implores his sister, Bridget, to convince their father to put their mom in an assisted living home. Bridget, who has always been a people pleaser with everyone, including her parents, wants to make sure her father is happy with the decision that’s made. He feels, however, that he’s the best assisted memory his wife could possibly have, because they’ve spent almost their entire lives together.
As power of attorney, Bridget is the one who must make the final decision. She sees the love her parents share, but she also sees how difficult it is for her father to care for her mother 24/7. While trying to make this tough decision, she’s also realizing how unhappy she has been in her own marriage for years. She uses an excuse to not wear her wedding ring and partially blames her father for convincing her that her husband is the best thing that happened to her.
WHAT THEY HAD shows a family that comes very close to being real. They are faced with tough decisions, regrets, feeling inadequate, and at the bottom line knowing that their arguments are based out of love. There’s a character in this movie with whom anyone can identify or sympathize. Although there are a few clichés, WHAT THEY HAD is full of heart and laughter. The family dysfunction is something that every family deals with in one capacity or another and is displayed in a very truthful way on screen. Ultimately, the movie has a strong Christian, moral worldview where the dysfunctional Catholic family makes sacrifices for one another (sometimes begrudgingly) and attends Mass and prays together before dinner. Although the family fights, they are still famil and they realize that the arguments really stem from how much love they have for each other.
That said, WHAT THEY HAD has a high number of gratuitous obscenities and strong profanities, about 80 or more. Also, there are many scenes of dysfunction and disrespect, plus some light sexual immorality. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for WHAT THEY HAD.
WHAT THEY HAD begins on a cold December. Bridget receives a distress call from her brother, Nick. Their mother is missing, wandering the streets of Chicago alone in the snow. The mother has Alzheimer’s and seems to be getting worse. Bridget returns home to help and finds the family torn in making a decision on what to do with her mother. Bridget’s father believes he can provide the best care for her, because he loves her, but Nick believes the best place for her is with assisted living.
WHAT THEY HAD depicts a real family with real problems as they argue among each other while also their love for one another. The struggles of a family dealing with a mother and wife who doesn’t remember who they are half the time are beautifully depicted. The audience can’t help but feel sympathy for these people. There is much laughter and a few tears in WHAT THEY HAD. However, it also has a high number of gratuitous obscenities and strong profanities, along with some other objectionable content. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for WHAT THEY HAD.