The grief-and-loss drama has become a mainstay of indie cinema, with a rigid character arc of shock, denial, inappropriate behavior, offbeat obsession, interpersonal crisis, and breakthrough. Screenwriter Bryan Sipe covers all the bases in this tale of a bored investment banker (Jake Gyllenhaal) who loses his wife in a car crash and, guilt-ridden over his lack of emotional trauma, takes to dismantling things and destroying stuff—including, ultimately, their expensive home. The lead players (including Naomi Watts as a single mother who befriends the hero, Judah Lewis as her alienated teenage son, and Chris Cooper as the banker's baffled, increasingly angry father-in-law) triumph over the story's familiarity, running with Sipe's ironic dialogue and eccentric situations. Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, Dallas Buyers Club) directed.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Producer: Lianne Halfon, Russ Smith, Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, Sidney Kimmel, Jean-Marc Vallée, Thad Luckinbill, Ellen Schwartz, Carla Hacken, Bruce Toll, Nathan Ross, John Malkovich, Jason Reitman and Helen Estabrook
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis, C.J. Wilson, Polly Draper and Heather Lind