The Greatest is the story of a family attempting to overcome the loss of the eldest child, Bennet (Aaron Johnson). That awful situation is compounded when Rose (Carey Mulligan) shows up on their doorstep, pregnant with Bennett's baby. Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan play Allen and Grace, Bennett's parents, with Johnny Simmons as his younger brother Ryan.
This film is so realistic in its portrayal of the journey through grief that you'll hate it as you love it. At the start, we meet Bennett in the hours leading up to his death. I knew what was going to happen, and it was still shocking. What follows is a heartbreaking cycle, where Allen stares away the nighttime hours, Grace wakes up to the horrifying knowledge of her lost son each morning and bursts into tears, and Ryan chemically deadens himself to zombie-walk through his days. When Rose arrives, with her sad smiles and her future in disarray, Grace hates her, Ryan taunts her, and Allen invests his time in her, understanding that his son can, in some form, live on through Rose's child. They all struggle in their own ways: Allen is passive and stoic, refusing to discuss anything involving his children; Grace is desperate and searching constantly for answers; Ryan douses himself in drugs and attempts to find solace in a girl (Zoe Kravitz) from the support group he has joined, but doesn't participate in. The overall effect is a slap in the face, an ice-water-on-your-head reminder of the kind of sadness you hope you never experience, but almost inevitably will. Thankfully, there is hope in this harsh situation, and you'll leave the film feeling as though things must get better.
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