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Brothers is a 2009 psychological war thriller directed by Jim Sheridan. It is a remake of Susanne Bier's Danish film Brødre from 2004.

When his helicopter goes down during his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan, Marine Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) is presumed dead. Back home, brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in to look over Sam’s wife, Grace (Natalie Portman), and two children. Sam’s surprise homecoming triggers domestic mayhem.

Tobey Maguire received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for his performance.

Not to be confused with the 1984 sitcom of the same name, nor with the sequel to Marathon Man.


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Brothers contains examples of:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Sam finally decides to go get mental help after suffering a mental breakdown over thinking Grace and Tommy were together, but on the downside Grace and the family now have to struggle with Sam's PTSD as a result.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After finding out he's alive, Isabelle is upset about Sam letting himself get captured and not showing up at her birthday party, and she yells at him at Maggie's birthday party.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sam doesn't want to tell anyone that he killed Joe.
  • Children Are Innocent: Maggie.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Sam's entire Heroic BSoD towards Grace when he comes back home and believes that she is having an affair with Tommy.
    Sam: YOU KNOW WHAT I DID TO FUCKING GET BACK TO YOU!!! YOU FUCKING BITCH!!! YOU WHAT I FUCKING SUFFERED? AND FUCKING SUFFERED BECAUSE OF YOU. AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FUCKING HOUSE AND FUCKING KIDS, GRACE? (Opens the refrigerator) YOU'RE FUCKING MY BROTHER, YOU'RE FUCKING MY BROTHER AND MY FUCKING HOUSE.
    Grace: Sam, please. There are girls, please.
    Sam: You know how much I love you. YOU WHAT I...CHRIST! YOU WHAT I CAN FUCKING.. YOU WHAT I CAN DO WITH THESE FUCKING HANDS! CHRIST! YOU FUCK! (repeatedly slaps his face with his hands) (breaks various things across the kitchen room) GOD, FUCK!
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  • Daddy's Girl: Maggie has a hard time dealing with Sam's death at first.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. Sam looks like he's going to shoot himself when the cops arrive, but then changes his mind.
  • A Father to His Men: Sam is distraught when his captors force him to kill Joe.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Maggie and Isabelle. Also, Sam and Tommy, although after Sam returns from combat they've switched roles.
    • Subverted for Maggie and Isabelle. Maggie can't be classified as "foolish," since she's only 5, and Isabelle certainly isn't responsible, as her ugly behavior causes her father to have a huge breakdown.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sam suffers from one when he thinks that Grace is having an affair with his brother Tommy.
  • Karma Houdini: Isabelle doesn't get any punishment for driving her father to a nervous breakdown and attempting suicide. Though she's just as affected by her father's return as the rest of her family.
  • Kick the Dog: Isabelle blatantly telling her father that she wished he "stayed dead," and that her mother would rather "sleep with Uncle Tommy." This is especially heartbreaking since he practically went through hell and back just to come back to her and her sister.
  • Large Ham: Sam sure knows how to ham it up when he smashes things believing that his wife Grace is cheating with Tommy.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Sam believes Grace and Tommy had a sexual relationship in his absence. Grace and Tommy did share a kiss, but immediately regretted it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nice driving your father to a bigger mental breakdown, Isabelle.
  • Never Found the Body: News comes that Sam's helicopter has crashed over the water, killing all of the marines aboard. In reality, the Afghans have taken him and a hometown friend, Private Joe Willis, a prisoner in a mountain village.
  • Not Himself: Grace wonders why Sam has been acting timid since he got back from Afghanistan.
  • The Paranoiac: Sam starts to become one after the incident. He even pulls a gun out of his back pocket when a faint noise is heard outside. He eventually gets better, however.
  • Parental Favoritism: Despite their love for Isabelle, Sam and Grace gave Maggie more attention than her. Lampshaded by Isabelle.
  • P.O.W. Camp: For the first half of the film, the scenes involving Sam.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Joe.
  • Sadistic Choice: The Afghans tell Sam either he beats Joe to death with a pipe or they shoot him in the head then shoot Joe.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Sam returns from his tour of duty in Afghanistan and suffers immensely from PTSD when he tries to have a normal life back home.
  • Swapped Roles: Sam, the upright Army officer, is the responsible sibling to Tommy's drunken screw-up. However, Tommy starts straightening out his life, and Sam comes back from combat riddled with PTSD and unable to function.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Isabelle is about eight and later about nine, but apparently knows what sex is.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Joe cracks and gives them the video message they want note , the Afghans force Sam, at gunpoint, to beat Joe to death with a pipe.

Alternative Title(s): Brothers

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