Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Seven Days to the Weekend

Author(s): James Somerton
Location: Canada

"Seven Days to the Weekend"

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Written By: Susannah Grant & Edward Buchannon
Produced By: Stacey Sher & Steven Soderbergh
Based On The Documentary "Cottonland"

Main Cast

Julia Roberts as Mary Frances
Jeremy Davies as Dylan Frances
Cher as Miranda Goss
Beau Bridges as John Bonnar
Dennis Quaid as Dr. Gordan Spencer (Addiction Councilor)

Tagline: "She Had Nothing. And Then She Lost Even More"

Synopsis: Mary wakes up in a dark haze with the sound of a phone ringing in the distance. The news on the other end isn't good. Child Welfare entered a preschool at ten o'clock and left with her three children. She wakes up her husband, Dylan, and they head to the Child Welfare office where everything is explained. Miranda Goss, a children's aid worker, was informed of Mary and Dylan's abuse of the prescription medication Oxycontin. After confirming it, she wasted no time in getting the children out of that environment. The only way they're getting their children back is to successfully complete a drug rehabilitation program, and prove that they're through with the drugs.

It isn't long before Mary and Dylan sign into the Clear Pastures rehabilitation clinic. With the withdrawals setting in, Mary is driven into a near psychotic rage. Her first days in rehab are punctuated with eruptions of violent anger toward the nurses. Dylan, meanwhile, becomes extremely introverted; forcing his pain deep down inside. The mental withdrawals are even worse, sending Mary into fits that leave her in tears.

Meanwhile, Miranda Goss is growing very close to Mary and Dylan's three children with her regular visits to the foster home. Brushing off questions like "When are Mommy and Daddy coming home?", she tries to make the children forget their "worthless" parents because, as far as she's concerned, they'll never clean up enough to get them back. After a month, the children haven't forgotten their mother and father, but they may have lost hope.

When Mary and Dylan leave rehab, they are very different people. Dylan is no longer the fun loving man he once was. And Mary... well, she simply can't remember a time when she was happy. They think they get to see their children now, but Miranda has a different plan. They haven't proved that they can stay clean yet. And letting the children see them now "may just be a bad idea". Mary and Dylan must prove that they've reformed but things have changed. They aren't the same people they were when they fell in love and without the children there to keep them together, things begin to fall apart.

Before long Dylan relapses and leaves Mary. She has nothing but her own will to support her now as she slowly rebuilds her shattered life. But are her young children finally forgetting her?

What the Press would say:

"Seven Days to the Weekend" is the exhausting story of a family torn to pieces. When their children are taken away from them due to their drug abuse, Mary and Dylan Frances are forced into rehab in order to get them back. This is one of the most hellacious experiences I have seen in film. Julia Roberts gives an absolutely stunning performance as she battles withdrawals from the drug Oxycontin. She is a mother trapped by her addiction. Loss, pain, heartbreak, mania; all feelings that Roberts must convey in the run of this stay in rehab. Her performance never goes over the top though and always seems just inside the barriers. Her mania never leaves a comic taste in your mouth and, in most cases, it is the exact obvious. It was terrifying to see her on the brink of insanity, a woman so opposite the one we met in the beginning of the movie. Once out of rehab she is a shadow of her former self, no longer vibrant. She now finds herself almost lost, having to give up the drug addicted friends she once had and even losing her husband. Jeremy Davies gives a great performance as Dylan Frances in one of the quietest rolls in the movie. Rarely does he express an opinion and always depends on others, wether it be his wife, his children, or the drug that controls him. He is left cold after rehab. With little love, if any, left in him he leaves his wife and children behind to return to the slow suicide that beckons him. Only proving Miranda Goss right about him. Behind Miranda Goss is one of the strongest performances in the film. Cher drops her fabulous facade and slips into frumpy suits and skirts as the seemingly cold social worker. When we first meet her she is anything but well put together. Her hair in a lopsided bun and an ill-fitting outfit, she barely reminds us of the Cher we know. And she proves herself as an actress once again with this roll. With a nearly heartless facade she draws us into hating her. But as Mary and Dylan's stay in rehab drags on, we come to realize that she truly cares for these children. Unable to have children of her own, Miranda believes it her duty to make sure that children are taken care of. She bonds with the children while their parents are away and we actually feel for her when they return to their mother. Cher's performance in this scene is amazing as the loss spreads over her face as if she were losing her own children. There is a backstory behind all this, one that we're privy to learning a little bit at a time throughout the film. Living in the small town of Glacier Bay, a former mining and steel town that has gone under; Mary and Dylan, like so many others, found solace in drugs when every last remnant of industry and hope left the small town. This isn't an isolated case. Oxycontin has been running rampant in this town long before Mary and Dylan started using it. A town in recession, with no economy and no optimistic outlook. Thats the backdrop of this story. A clear contrast is Mary's hope that, no matter how bad things get, she may just be able to get her children back. A hope she barely clings to when in the hell of rehab. Steven Soderbergh's vision of this film is one of cloudy days and long nights. Nothing is pretty in this movie, from the dilapidated exteriors of Glacier Bay to the harsh lights inside the rehab center, we are forced to look at the images these people must live with everyday. Barely an existence for many, this drug is no longer a source of a high, but only a source for normality. Soderbergh sugarcoats nothing. Even the children are given little hope when it comes to them living with their parents again. Although they do find themselves back with their mother, this is no fairy tale ending. Mary's job pays very little and Dylan is gone. She's left alone with three children. The only bright spot being that they are, in fact, together again. We don't know how things will turn out. If mary will relapse and start using again. If her children will grow up and find the same fate as so many others in their town. This isn't a truly happy ending. But in life, how many real happy endings are there?

Possible nominations

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actress - Julia Roberts
Best Supporting Actor - Jeremy Davies
Best Supporting Actress - Cher
Best Adapted Screenplay

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