We watched two movies back to back last night - "No Reservations" and "The Brave One".
"No Reservations" was surprisingly poignant, due COMPLETELY to the incredible child actor, Abigail Breslin of "Little Miss Sunshine" fame. She pulls your heart-strings...even if it is in such a predictable film as this. I had no idea what this film was about, and wouldn't recommend it unless you are looking for a brief diversion, or you are a fan of Abigail Breslin. But as a break from Olympics track & field moments, it fulfilled its purpose in my afternoon.
In contrast, I found "The Brave One" to be riveting and I was blown away by Jodie Foster's portrayal of a confident New York woman who is suddenly devastated by an unprovoked random violent attack in Central Park. The attack leaves her badly beaten and comatose for 3 weeks, while her fiance dies of his injuries.
Suffering from paralyzing fear, she seeks some illusion of protection by trying to purchase a gun. When told she needs a license and to wait 30 days, her heartbreaking response is, "I don't know if I can survive 30 days."
After a lifetime of free-wheeling NY living, never having been touched by violence or fear, her life increasingly spins out of control through continuing interactions with violence. A robbery in a convenience store, a subway gang attack, a sex crime/kidnapping, and a brush with organized crime. This reversal of character is captured when her counterpart in the movie, a detective played by Terrence Howard, asks her how she has recovered from her trauma, and her response (paraphrase), "You don't. You become a different person."
This story was fascinating to me - and mostly because of the Foster-Howard portrayals of their characters. The ending was surprising - a little too Hollywood - but I do believe the struggles portrayed by Foster and Howard were real, deep, and powerful.