What They Had ★★★ ½ ☆ | Movie Review


A family struggle with their mother's failing memory and their father's reluctance to let go of their life together.


What They Had is what I wanted from The Leisure Seeker, it ends up being a touching look at how Alzheimer's can affect the family unit. That being said, it is still just an average family drama that has a great cast.

All four of our leads bring something special to this film, for me though, Robert Forster was far and away the best of them. His progression throughout the film makes for such a powerful moment at the end when he finally sees the reality of his situation.

There's no denying that if you take out these big name actors you've just got another Lifetime movie. It needed some more punch in the other areas to bring it up, but I honestly don't know how it could have done that. It is what it is, there isn't a lot to play with apart from a more dramatic storyline.

The main story does flow well but the side stories are rather forgettable. When we get to the end and they're all neatly tied up I wasn't overly bothered. Even with these great actors in all of the scenes nothing was particularly tugging at my heartstrings.

Blythe Danner really came into her own towards the end of What They Had. The sequence of events that takes place brought more than the odd tear to my eye. There's some beautiful logic from Ruth and if I'd been in her daughter's position in that moment I would have been snotty crying.

We also need to acknowledge the elephant (or in this case, turkey) in the room. We've had Ruth's emotional scenes, we get the last bit of the story sewn up in possibly an overly sweet scenario and then... a turkey... literally. I honestly didn't get it.

Sadly, although I enjoy it and I wasn't bored I think this is going to quickly be cast into the "oh yeah, I remember that film" pile.

What you should do

If you enjoy family dramas then this is one of the better ones recently and is certainly worth a watch.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

I quite liked the look of Nick's bar, I wouldn't mind getting my own one... it would be movie-themed of course.