Jake Davis was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who had to raise his young daughter Katie on his own. However, his challenge was made more difficult by a debilitating neurologic disorder, worsening financial woes and intrusive wealthy in-laws.
20 or so years later, Katie Davis is working as a social worker helping kids with problems. Behind her dedication to her wards and her cheerful disposition, she is afflicted with a shameful addiction. When she meets aspiring writer Cameron, has Katie finally found the love she had long denied herself?
he list of actors was very impressive, with no less than five Oscar winners and nominees among them: Russell Crowe of course is in the lead role as Jake Davis. Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer, Janet McTeer and Quvenzhané Wallis play minor characters who could have been played by any character actor, to be completely honest. Admittedly though, their names do lend a certain prestige to this project.
Russell Crowe is really very good as a dramatic actor, especially in those solitary contemplative moments of his. Those scenes depicting Jake's seizures were realistically played. I must admit some of those supposedly "cute" moments of child talk with his daughter could be cringe-worthy. To her credit, the 11 year old Kylie Rogers played young Katie very well. It was a delight to watch her refreshingly natural performance.
It was hard for me to separate Amanda Seyfried from her virginal ingenue roles in "Les Miserables" and "Mamma Mia". She played her flawed character well, managing to elicit audience sympathy no matter how disgusting her condition was. Aaron Paul takes a break from his tough guy image ("Breaking Bad" and "Need for Speed") to play a romantic character and did very well in his gentle role.
Italian director Gabriele Muccino employed a technique of telling the parallel stories of the child and adult Katie Davis flashing forwards and back in time. This could be confusing at first but you will get the drift. The more difficult issue for me was the rather schizophrenic nature of the script. The child Katie story, which we see prominently in the poster, had a story with general appeal. However, the adult Katie story unexpectedly had very disturbing aspects which may disappoint, or even turn off, those who thought this was a wholesome family drama. 6/10.