Film Review: ‘DEMOLITION’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper & Naomi Watts




Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Naomi Watts, Heather Lind, Judah Lewis
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Rated: R (language, sexual references, drug use)
Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes

Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a successful New York investment banker and his wife Julia (Heather Lind) works with special needs children. Davis and Julia are in a horrific car accident, he is unharmed but she dies from massive head trauma. He remains in the hospital waiting room in a dazed state long after learning she has died and family has gone home.  He shows more of an emotional reaction to a malfunctioning vending machine in the waiting room than to his wife’s death.

His family, in-laws and friends are puzzled by his calm silence and inability to openly grieve after losing Julia. He returns home from the funeral and writes a letter to the vending machine company requesting a refund for the money he lost at the hospital.  However, the letter becomes more than a refund request because he has finally found a way to express himself.

He writes several letters to the company talking about his life and the lack of feeling he has about Julia’s death until the company customer service rep (Naomi Watts) calls asking him to stop sending the letters. They eventually meet and form a friendship.

Father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) is annoyed with his lack of emotion but tells him “repairing the human heart is like repairing an automobile. You have to take everything apart. Examine everything. Then you can put it back together.” These words are the catalyst for Davis to review every aspect of his personal and professional life.

He becomes obsessed with literally taking things apart to see how they work: refrigerators, computers and eventually the home he shared with Julia.  Davis’s process of deconstruction leads to discovering marriage and family secrets and eventually to a place that allows him to finally express his grief and honor Julia’s life in a beautiful and loving way.

I really enjoyed this movie because Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Cooper give very powerful performances that should not be missed! The only negative is there are too many subplots but I will still recommend the film because it’s thought provoking and I continued to think about it long after I left the theater.

The soundtrack is excellent and includes Heart’s ‘Crazy on You’, Chocolate Watchband ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’, Dusted ‘Bruises’, and Cave ‘Sweaty Fingers’.

Demolition opens today and I hope you see it.