Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Year Released: 2015
Successful NYC-based investor Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) has what could be considered a nervous breakdown after a car accident kills his wife Julia (Heather Lind) and leaves him (physically) unscathed - he behaves erratically at work, dismantling (and destroying) objects around him and starts exchanging strange letters with a customer service rep (Naomi Watts) over a vending machine taking his money (?). Full credit goes to Gyllenhaal - who's especially talented at playing eccentric people - for bringing out the humanity and conviction in his creation (who's plagued with survivor's remorse and a broken heart): even as he destroys his own home with Watts' (equally confused) son (and dares the kid to shoot him), it comes across as being cathartic ... and surprisingly funny. It fails, sadly, with its third act, which rushes through its storylines: Watts gets ditched, Jake meets the man who hit his car, Watts' son gets beaten up, Jake gets beaten up, Jake implausibly patches things up with Lind's father (played by Chris Cooper) ... it could have used more time to flesh those matters out.