Sean Penn and Benecio Del Toro, two of the most gripping actors around, play wildly different men linked through a grieving woman (Naomi Watts) in 21 Grams
. Del Toro delves deep into the role of an ex-con turned born-again Christian, a deeply conflicted man struggling to set right a terrible accident, even at the expense of his family. Penn captures a cynical, philandering professor in dire need of a heart transplant, which he gets from the death of Watts' husband. 21 Grams
slips back in forth in time, creating an intricate emotional web out of the past and the present that slowly draws these three together; the result is remarkably fluid and compelling. The movie overreaches for metaphors towards the end, but that doesn't erase the power of the deeply felt performances. --Bret Fetzer
Award-winning film by the director of 'Amores Perros', Alejandro González Iñárritu. Shot mainly with a hand-held camera, and following a non-linear plot line, the film captures the immediacy and confusion of the moments before, during and after a horrific accident that causes the lives of three disparate people to become interwined. Sean Penn plays Paul Rivers, a mathematics teacher facing up to his pending death from a heart problem, while his distant wife Mary (Charlotte Gainsbourg) hopes to become pregnant from artificial insemination. Naomi Watts is Cristina, mother of two little girls who has overcome a drug-dependent past to achieve a stable, happy marriage and family life. Benicio del Toro plays Jack Jordan, an ex-criminal who has now found Jesus and is struggling to provide for his wife and their two children in a poor area of the town. When tragedy strikes, all three characters must re-evaluate their lives in the face of death. The title refers to the 21 grams a person loses at the moment of death, thought to be the weight of the human soul.