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Film / Brothers (2009)

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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.


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.
  • 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.
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  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Maggie and Isabelle. Also, Sam and Tommy, although after Sam returns from combat they've switched roles.
  • Karma Houdini: Isabelle doesn't get any punishment for driving her father to a nervous breakdown and attempting suicide. YMMV though since she's 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 an her sister.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Subverted and what drives the plot immensely. Grace and Tommy both grieve Sam's "death" and show disgust over kissing, considering Grace still loves Sam. When Sam returns, he begins to think this and it goes overboard when Isabelle causes this simply because of anger she has over everything.

Alternative Title(s): Brothers


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