Kevin Bacon is such a good actor! He makes it look so easy. He does such a good job of transferring the character's emotions and personal thoughts without words. You find yourself wondering how you might react in his shoes. This is a great example where a movie can tell a wonderful story. A 12 year old boy's mother commits suicide using a train wreck to end her miserable life. They really don't let us understand her reason for her pain and suffering but we get to see that she is determined to take her son with her. The boy escapes from the car on the tracks at the last moment, choosing to live after exhausting all of his options to save his mother before the train hits the car. The engineer is Kevin Bacon who has no choice but to hit the car. His wife is dying from bone cancer and their relationship is committing suicide. Everyone in this plot is in terrible emotional pain and suffering! The parallel stories compare the two lives and how they survive the crash.
After the accident the boy runs away from foster care to confront Kevin Bacon about killing his mother. The boy is touched by Kevin Bacon's wife who extends he unconditional compassion and love. She feels for him. She is trying to heal both Kevin and her pain by loving the boy. Against his will he allows the boy to hide out instead of going back to foster care. Kevin Bacon is risking his career for his wife's happiness proving he loves her more than his trains and career. They are healing each other. Meanwhile, he is under investigation and he is feeling guilty about the crash, his wife and his life. The boy forgives him, his wife forgives him and he forgives himself. Everyone faces their own pain in their own way, the tragedy proves to be "the only way" for them to over come their pain and realize that love is a great gift no matter how it comes.