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Film Studies 101
Feature
50 Movie Sibling Rivalries
The brothers and sisters who just can’t seem to get along

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Brothers (2009)

Brothers (2009)

The siblings: Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal)

What puts them at odds? When Captain Sam Cahill goes off to fight in Afghanistan, ex-con younger bro Tommy arrives to live with Sam’s wife Grace (Natalie Portman) and kids. But then Sam is shot down and imprisoned overseas, and upon his return, suspects he’s been cuckolded…

Dealing with a screw-up of a brother must be difficult enough, but leaving your wife and kids to live with him, getting shot down and tortured in a foreign prison and having to come back while dealing with serious PTSD? We can easily imagine why Sam Cahill flips out. Adapted by director Jim Sheridan (and Game Of Thrones TV co-creator David Benioff) from Susanne Bier’s original, it channels all the same fraternal frustration while somehow feeling a little less than Bier’s film. Still, Gyllenhaal’s heightened emotion here isn’t entirely acting, as he learned of friend Heath Ledger’s death in the middle of production and took time out to mourn.

Which sibling is your favourite?

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