The lives of three people, a college professor (Sean Penn), a born-again ex-con (Benicio Del Toro), and a mother with a reckless past (Naomi Watts), collide unexpectedly in one brief, but heart-wrenching tragedy.
21 Grams (directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) is a story of both revenge, redemption and love. Paul Rivers (Sean Penn; Mystic River) is an unhappily married, terminally ill professor, who's in desperate need of a heart transplant. Jack Jordan (Benecio Del Toro; Traffic) is an ex-con, who becomes a born-again Christian. Christina Peck (Naomi Watts; The Ring) is a former drug addict, whose life has changed dearly since becoming married and having two daughters.
All this changes one night when Jack's truck runs over Christina's daughters and husband, killing the two daughters and severely injuring her husband. At the hospital, (one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in the film), Christina is told that her two daughters have been killed, while her husband is about to die from severe blood clots to the brain. In a last-minute decision, she agrees to donate her husband's heart to a dying man.
I don't want to give away too much, but this story is just mesmerizing. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu gives you a powerful film, but in my opinion, he screwed it up. If the story had been told from beginning to end and not made more like a puzzle, it could've been a monumental film. This is what kept the film from winning any awards. The film could've been a masterpiece, but I still think it's very good.
The acting from Watts should've earned her an Academy Award, and would've any other year, but this year Charlize Theron (Academy Award-Winner for Monster) gave the performance of a lifetime. Del Toro proved (to me, anyways) that his Academy Award for Traffic was gist. He delves deep into his role, often putting goosebumps on my arms. Penn also gave a wonderful performance, but his performance in Mystic River definitely out-shines his performance in this film.
All in all, this film is so close to being a masterpiece, if only they had hired a different director to film it, it would've been a film to cherish, although I doubt anyone will forget it - - especially the performances.