This is a moving journey into the lives of two very real siblings. Faced with the unexpected responsibility of dealing with a father who barely deserves their meagre emotional resources, they deal with the problem, with each other, and with their lives.
Like many people in real life, there is no simple resolution, no uplifting revelation, no emergence: they just move on to the next struggle, with some hope. It is that that makes this a first rate film, that it can be believed and experienced - and it certainly reflects what most of us know at one time or another.
Hoffman and Linney are absolutely wonderful. Their relationship is difficult and you can feel the tension that continues, even though the details are only alluded to rather than spelled out. You simply feel for them, you don't judge them or laugh at them. It is realism at its very very best. Individually, their lives are also not easy, but to say they are losers or crippled like some reviewers have here is an over-statement: like many of us, they are wounded and doing the best they can.
Then there is the father, whose behavior and sins are only to be guessed. He is a shell of a man, sometimes lucid, sometimes slipping into the kind of evil you suspect he perpetrated. Yet they still feel some love and caring for him and take their responsibilities seriously. It is a painful spectacle, but very real.
Recommended. This is a splendid journey into areas rarely covered by film, without frills or silly plot twists.