18 November 2009 | peedur
Based (loosely) on the Story of Sharon Lopatka
Crimelibrary has an account of a suburban Baltimore, MD woman whose story is markedly similar to this film in the broad facts.
However, the movie departs from that story when exploring the protagonist's psychology - Maria Bello plays a very different character from that of Sharon Lopatka. The film tries to link contradicting pathologies which weren't present in the real story, and which would be fine if there was a point - there doesn't seem to be. Unlike Michael Haneke's, "La Pianiste," there seems to be a poor grasp or care about the underlying chaos of this character beyond the dramatic possibilities. Maria Bello's performance is admirable but the narrative fails to draw significant meaning from the substance of her struggle.
While there is an attempt to create a dark, grim sheen to the film, the casting of two very pretty Hollywood stars (Bello and Patric) was an epic blunder. It adds an unwelcome 'allure' to a tale which should remain, frankly, indigestible. Marketable, sexy actors transform this fascinating story into something weirdly, sadly exploitative. Jason Patric is such a poor choice - it couldn't be any more distracting if it were Brad Pitt! (It might have felt more grounded with actors like James Gandolfini and Kathy Bates... ).
Rufus Sewell is captivating here and brings a needed realism in his portrayal of the bewildered husband.