Halle Berry followed her Oscar victory with a performance I feel is just as good as the one she gave in Monster's Ball. Again, she plays a mother but this character has a happy marriage and a nice life in the suburbs. Unfortunately, press attention on the film was diverted its opening weekend because of a devastating wildfire in Southern California that caused mass evacuations. The disaster also affected West Coast box office that weekend. Ironically, the new Halle Berry film was called Things We Lost in the Fire. If you're a Berry fan looking for something to rent one weekend, I recommend this movie. I also highly recommend it if you're a Benicio Del Toro fan. Wow. He is so moving here.
This is a story about love, forgiveness, redemption and letting go. David Duchovney plays Brian, the love of Audrey's life. She's the love of his. Berry plays Audrey, the wife and mother who will suddenly and unexpectedly become a widow.
Eventually, the disenfranchised Jerry is given a place to stay. The kids like him. Audrey remains understandably guarded and somewhat unforgiving for his junkie past.
Can Audrey let go of anger the way Jerry needed to let go of drugs? That's the emotional journey you'll see. Halle Berry is strong and honest in this performance. It may look a bit glossy, like a Lifetime TV movie, but there are some raw and complicated emotions in this very well-played story. Helping Halle deliver some of her finest work was director Susanne Bier. This Danish filmmaker won an Oscar for directing In a Better World.
Bier drew a beautiful performance out of Benicio Del Toro as the flawed man trying to a help a friend's family move through its grief. To me, this was an Oscar-nomination worthy performance. Those Southern California wildfires in October 2007 took a toll this good movie getting a West Coast audience. Del Toro's exceptional work was overlooked.
I'd like to see those two actors team up again. Full disclosure: I once auditioned to be in a comedy movie with Halle Berry. If you read my previous two blogs, one on actor Michael Caine and the other with info on a television feature I taped recently for RLTV, you saw clips of my VH1 celebrity talk shows. In the early 1990s, after my VH1 years, I signed with my first agent. He was with a big agency in New York City. I won't say which one. I told him I was interested in acting auditions. I wanted to test for supporting comedy roles -- like the wise-cracking playwright best friend and roommate Bill Murray played in Tootsie. My agent submitted me to audition for Strictly Business.
I was submitted to play "Bobby," the home-boy mailroom employee in a white-collar firm.
First of all, I went into the audition knowing full well that I was ten years too old for the part. Comedian Tommy Davidson got the role. Second, well...let's just say that I wondered if my blond agent had even looked at my demo reel. He and I parted company a little over a year later after he got me an audition to play one of the two voodoo-performing black crooks in the sequel to the corpse comedy, Weekend at Bernie's.
I'm just not the voodoo thug type.
Check out Susanne Bier's Things We Lost in the Fire. And her foreign film, After the Wedding. In that, too, worlds collide and come together. There's a Danish man who helps poor children in India and a rich father who offers him a $4 million donation to help the Bombay orphans if he attends his daughter's ritzy wedding in Denmark. If you're in the New York City area and need a coach to help you with your acting, consider Dani. Here's her link:
Tell her that I sent you.