Michael Shannon directs an adaptation of Brett Neveu’s 2002 play about a mother coping with the fallout after her son murders three of his high school classmates. Janice (Judy Greer) is struggling; she moves through life as if in a haze, unable to let go of her anger and frustration. While her husband (Alexander Skarsgård) has found refuge at a new church, Janice finds it hard to seek solace in her faith despite her pastor’s pleas to heal her wounds by meeting with the mothers of her son’s victims. As Janice ponders what that meeting could achieve for her and her community, Eric LaRue asks audiences to witness the frayed emotional ripples that violent acts can engender.
Anchored by Greer’s deeply arresting performance, Shannon’s directorial debut grapples head-on with frustratingly timely conversations about who deserves our compassion and grace. Standout supporting turns by Tracy Letts and Alison Pill, who capture a subtly unnerving vision of spiritual fanaticism, stress the film's interest in complicating facile views of atonement and forgiveness in light of such tragedies.––Manuel Betancourt