This film is going to struggle to find an audience, for several reasons:  1) The main character, Nana (Jennifer Connelly) is completely unsympathetic.  She loses one child because of her own carelessness and she abandons the other because she can deal with her grief better by herself?  She looks down her nose at a faith healer and then becomes one?  2) The screen is filled with images of frozen tundra, and much of the dialogue is just as chilly and remote, 3) Itís partially subtitled, but at times they donít even bother to translate when Jannia (Melanie Laurent) speaks French, 4) The other main character, Ivan (Cillian Murphy) seems to be able to relate well only to his pet falcon, but weíre not nearly as enamored with falconry as he is.

            That said, itís hard not to watch the compelling intensity of Jennifer Connelly, and the fact that her character is so unadorned just makes her performance that much more noteworthy.  And Melanie Laurent is also very easy on the eyes, even when sheís not saying anything, and we canít help watching her, either, even though her character is emotionally distant, and a deceiver.

            This little slice of tragedy is indeed an indie film; thereís plenty of poignancy and artistic license here, but no humor, no romance, no special effects, no chase scenes, no cuteness or winsomeness at all.  Itís a hard story with rough edges, and not many recreational viewers will want to subject themselves to the malingering malaise.


Questions For Discussion:

1)                  Are there any circumstances where it would be understandable for a Mother to abandon her child?

2)                  What kind of adult emotional issues would a child have who was abandoned by his mother and raised by his grandfather?

3)                  How much confidence do you have in non-traditional methods of healing?  Including faith healing?

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas