The unplanned separation from a loved one is probably the most profound pain one can experience, without losing a limb or possibly being disemboweled. Integrate within this tragedy that the loved one was murdered by another human being, and the pain from that loss is incalculable in exponential terms.
"Personal Effects" deals with these human induced tragedies, and how those effected can restore the better human emotions of compassion for one another. Michelle Pfeiffer, as Linda, plays one of these people affected by the violent impulses of a human being. Her husband, who was murdered by a drunken friend, was a gun collector and avid drinker. His death left a hole in her life, as well as the life of their death mute son, Clay, played by Spencer Hudson.
Ashton Kutcher plays Walter, a collegiate wrestler at the University of Iowa, whose twin sister was murdered by a psychopathic pervert. His loss has turned him, understandably, into a bitter brother, who can not move on with his life until he sees his sister's accused murder pay for this crime. His mother, Gloria, played by the always excellent character actor Kathy Bates. She is not so bitter, just somewhat disoriented in her life.
As foreshadowed, Walter and Linda, come together reminiscent of Ashton's real life relationship with Actress Demi Moore, and their relationship is one built on need more than desire, and therefore is fated to fail - at least for the younger partner - or quite possibly, I just do not get it.
Maybe it is a much more important film than I can fathom at this point and beyond, my limited ability to appreciate. I understand the issue: It is an important one. I just feel that the film directed by David Hollander, just did not handle it in a manner that kept me on board for the duration of the film. It could have been that, even maybe with his real life relationship considered, Ashton was miscast for the role. He is a really good looking guy and maybe that is his course as an actor in these real life situations. And that may be the symbol of why the film did not work for me in the 110 minutes it took to tell this sad tell. I just wasn't believable to the point of me caring. I was not moved by the film, and on occasion, I can be a real sap. Maybe next time.
Rated R. Released on DVD May 12, 2009.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.