• There have been a number of movies in which a problem in the family forces the whole brood to get together, but I think that Elizabeth Chomko's "What They Had" still bears watching. It focuses on a Chicago family whose mom has Alzheimer's. When her memory loss becomes a danger to her, the daughter (who has power of attorney) has to return from LA to help with things. She brings along her irresponsible daughter, complicating things. The family's son also complicates things.

    Every character is damaged in some way. In fact, the mom is the least damaged, despite her amnesia. The dad, daughter, son and granddaughter all have their problems to sort out amid this gathering, and it's not going to be that easy.

    The cast puts their all into the roles (not that I expected otherwise). The mom (Blythe Danner) wasn't as developed as I had hoped for, but the daughter (Hilary Swank) is shown to be a complex character. Michael Shannon continues his string of heavy-duty roles as the son. As for the dad (Robert Forster), he's the type who makes everyone feel as if they're walking on eggshells. Very much the opposite of a role model. Meanwhile, Taissa Farmiga confirms herself as one of the great upcoming actresses in the role of the granddaughter.

    All in all, a good one. I recommend it.