Bereave – Review

As Bereave continues to make its rounds, scoring multiple awards at both national and international festivals, the imprint of this compelling and masterfully told story is lasting. After viewing Bereave, it’s impossible not to walk out the theater experiencing an array of emotions and at the same time feel a strong need to discuss the experience you just had as a moviegoer.  And, making such a lasting impression is what makes this a great film.

Written by Evangelos Giovanis, and directed by Evangelos and his brother George Giovanis, Bereave showcases a powerhouse of veteran actors whose performances are nothing short of pure brilliance. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Halloween, The Artist), plays Garvey, a fatally ill husband struggling with not only his own mortality, but keeping this a secret from his wife of 40 years. Malcolm’s performance opens the door for the viewer to experience a variety of feelings about Garvey, from frustrated with him, angry possibly at times for some of his actions, to understanding his choices and feeling compassion and pain for him. Equally as outstanding, Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Jane the Virgin), embodies Garvey’s devoted wife, Evelyn. Doing her best to hold it together during her husbands strange and erratic behavior, Evelyn eventually hits her breaking point when her husband goes missing. Jane navigates us right into the darkest corners of Evelyn’s pain. Brilliant performances by both leads. It is also impossible not to acknowledge the excellence Oscar-winning and Emmy-nominated Keith Carradine brings to Victor, Garvey’s brother. Victor, experiencing his own grief, knowing his brother’s fate, adds the perfectly-timed comedic release the audience needs. And, he sure does deliver. Victor (Keith) is anything but subtle.

Given the name Bereave, it would seem fairly simple to conclude this is a drama about and older man dying, and how he and his wife may or may not come to terms with the inevitable, right? Wrong! There is nothing predictable about it. This film is so well-written. Writer/Director Evengelos, gifts us with a richly-layered story weaving together the often complicated web of family dynamics. And, with this comes the entire spectrum of emotions and real human experiences.  Bereave is a refreshing film that at times can be hard and edgy like when Evelyn stumbles upon a dangerous situation; and yet there are moments of softness and quiet in nature, specifically when Garvey spends time at the park with a new friend. There is truly something in this film for everyone.

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