A drama based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. A businessman bets his life on a horse race; a gangster sees the future; a pop star falls prey to a crime boss; a doctor must save the love of his life.
Sarah Michelle Gellar,
When her brother Bobby returns from World War II mentally damaged, Anna has to deal with her parents who don't acknowledge her brother's existence, who is now brought to a mental hospital. ... See full summary »
Sensitive, somewhat effeminate farm-boy Duncan Mudge can barely cope with grim, since Ma's death even gloomier father Edgar's manly expectations, and seeks comfort in petting a chicken he ... See full summary »
Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
The Travis family façade is destroyed by an event incomprehensible to them -- an event which will open locked doors and finally reveal the secrets that have haunted them for decades.Written by
As of 2016, this is the last film appearance of Sara Tanaka who played Shelly Chan. See more »
When Tim is asleep on the kitchen table, the contents of the pickle jar he was eating from jumps from empty to half full between shots. See more »
Matt Travis was a great swimmer. But it wasn't just that he was a great swimmer, it was simply that he was greater at swimming than anyone I ever knew was good at whatever they were good at.
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Sometimes impressive, but a film not without its faults
Another slice of darkness and denial hiding beneath the surface of American suburbia, Imaginary Heroes chronicles the lives of the Travis family, all recovering following the suicide of their eldest son.
The pair at the center of the film is mother and son Sandy (Sigourney Weaver) and Tim (Emile Hirsch), both acting out in different ways as a result of the death. While Tim experiments with prescription medication and his own sexuality, Sandy regresses to her former self, smoking marijuana and coming to terms with an old act of infidelity.
The relationship between Sandy and Tim is explored well, especially when references are made to both of them being outcast from their own family: Sandy due to her affair and Tim, initially, due to always being in the shadow of his more successful older brother. Considerably less time is allowed for Sandy's husband Ben (Jeff Daniels) who, in a devastating depiction of denial, orders Sandy to make an additional plate of food for his dead son and place it in his old spot at the dinner table. Michelle Williams' older sister Penny is underwritten and could easily be taken out of the film.
Despite its long runtime, Imaginary Heroes doesn't explore its many subplots as much as the individual stories deserve, while some of the movie's black comedy doesn't translate as well as writer/director Dan Harris may have liked. And the depiction of a disturbed family dynamic isn't depicted as strongly as the many other films out there with similar ideas. But despite some issues, the central performances from Weaver and Hirsch are stunning, and easily carry the film to its successfully subdued conclusion.
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