What They Had | Chicago Reader

What They Had

This middling snoozefest demonstrates that good performances, a plausible story line, and relatable emotional content are not enough to make a movie interesting. Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon play grown siblings whose mother (Blythe Danner) is in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease; Shannon’s character wants to move her to an assisted living facility, while the father (Robert Forster) insists on keeping her at home. First-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko hits every plot point you’d expect to find in this sort of tasteful family drama: the grown children argue over what to do with their mother, confront their father for failing to provide them with emotional support, recognize their own personal shortcomings, etc. Perhaps the best thing about the film is that it evokes memories of better, more distinctive movies, namely Sarah Polley’s Away From Her (2006) and Tamara Jenkins’s The Savages (2007).



  • Elizabeth Chomko


  • Hilary Swank
  • Michael Shannon
  • Robert Forster
  • Blythe Danner
  • Taissa Farmiga
  • Josh Lucas
  • Sarah Sutherland
  • Marilyn Dodds Frank
  • Aimee Garcia
  • William Smillie
  • Isabeau Dornevil
  • Jennifer Robideau
  • Jay Montepare
  • Ann Whitney


  • Keith Kjarval
  • Bill Holderman
  • Albert Berger
  • Ron Yerxa
  • Alex Saks
  • Sefton Fincham
  • Tyler Jackson
  • Wayne Godfrey
  • Robert Jones
  • Shafin Diamond Tejani
  • Levi Sheck
  • Mike Rowe
  • Dean Buchanan
  • David Grace
  • Hilary Swank
  • Michael Shannon
  • Byron Wetzel

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