After her Oscar win for the film "Monster's Ball" actress Halle Berry has been going the Cuba Gooding Jr. route…or so I feared. After her 'monster' (teehee!) performance she has chosen to star in such dogs as "Catwoman" and "Perfect Stranger". For a woman who can be a good actress she certainly wasn't picking the right vehicles. Well, we can all rest assured that she is back on the right track with "Things We Lost in the Fire". There is nothing we have not seen with this film. It is another wife with two young kids losing her husband film, but it is certainly miles better than what she has done lately. And more importantly she gives a good performance.
The Burkes are a happy and beautiful family. Steven (David Duchovny – from television's The X Files), a successful developer, and Audrey (Halle Berry) have a ten-year-old daughter, Harper (Alexis Llewellyn – The Chronicles of Riddick) and a six-year-old boy, Dory (Micah Berry – first film). Life is good. The only complaint that Audrey has is that her husband still spends time with his heroin addicted childhood friend, Jerry (Benicio Del Toro – Sin City, 21 Grams). This seems to be the only time she gets angry.
While out on an ice cream run for the kids Steven intercedes on the behalf of a woman being beaten by her husband and while he is calling 911 the husband shoots him. Steven dies. Audrey and the kids are crushed. For a reason unbeknownst to herself she makes sure to invite Jerry to the funeral. Afterwards she visits the methadone clinic that he lives at and invites him to live in their garage. Despite some stumbles, Audrey begins to see the qualities in Jerry that caused her husband to not give up on him and in the process she is able to keep that connection to her husband.
Though it is a rebound film for Ms. Berry the true star of the film is Benicio Del Toro. He turns an ordinary film into an above average one with his performance. As an actor he seems to commit everything to his character as such he seems to disappear into them. He tends to chose to play these types of 'broken' characters, but he never makes them maudlin or extreme. There is always a little light within. There is a slowness to the film which is perfect as it allows you time to digest what each of the characters are going through. Does a perfect job showing the effects death and addiction can have on a family and friends.
– "Discussion About Things We Lost In The Fire" featurette