This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here.
Synopsis: After her ailing mother wanders off during a blizzard, Bridget returns to her childhood home in Chicago, accompanied by her rebellious college-age daughter. Forced to referee between her father’s stubborn insistence that his wife remain at home and her equally determined brother’s efforts to place her in a sought-after “memory care” facility, Bridget struggles to make sense of a lifetime of family conflict. With her mother’s decline becoming increasingly obvious, long-simmering resentments make an already difficult decision close to impossible. (Elevation Pictures)
Starring: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, and Robert Forster
Writer: Elizabeth Chomko
Director: Elizabeth Chomko
Rating: R (United States)
Running Time: 101mins
Considering the strength of its cast and its decent enough premise, it was surprising that What They Had fell under the radar until it was announced to play at this year’s TIFF. Now? Not so much…..
Now, though, it makes total sense since this is a disjointed, uninteresting film with no stakes, although some redeeming factors. The leads, especially Swank, Shannon and Blythe Danner are good as expected considering their track records. However, What They Had just doesn’t have any stakes. The story treads such familiar ground, and does nothing new with it. Even that aside, the film barely succeeds in keeping the audience entertained, at the least. It had plenty going for it, however, it isn’t captivating in the slightest, making for quite the boring watch.