21 Grams (2003)

21 Grams Poster

Paul Rivers, an ailing mathematician lovelessly married to an English émigré; Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife and mother of two girls; and Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con, are brought together by a terrible accident that changes their lives.

"21 Grams" is a riveting 2003 thriller movie directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, with an acclaimed screenplay by Guillermo Arriaga. The movie includes a star-studded ensemble cast, consisting of Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio Del Toro, whose linking yet disastrous storylines hauntingly take a look at styles of loss, redemption, and fate.

"21 Grams" refers to the weight apparently lost by the body at the instant of death, thought by some to represent the weight of the soul. The movie consists of three diverse stories that ultimately intertwine. Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) is a seriously ill mathematician, Christina Peck (Naomi Watts) is a grieving mother, and Jack Jordan (Benicio Del Toro) is a reformed found guilty turned devout Christian.

The story is non-linear, beginning in medias res and gradually revealing the situations leading up to the opening scene. We learn that Christina's husband and two daughters were eliminated in a hit-and-run accident brought on by Jack, shattering her world. Jack, wrecked with guilt over the mishap, leaves his newly found spiritual life behind, returning to a course of criminality and self-destruction.

Paul, struggling with a terminal heart disease, is desperate for a heart transplant to conserve his life. The physicians discover him a match - the heart of Christina's deceased spouse. In the after-effects of her terrible loss, Christina spirals down the course of drug dependency, before befriending Paul, who at first hides the source of his new heart.

Intertwining Stories
Their lives start intersecting as Christina and Paul fall in love, sharing the shared injury of death and survival. Paul's regret over his secret ultimately leads him to admit to Christina about the transplant, which shocks and confuses her. On the other hand, Jack's guilt continues to consume him as his life collapses around him.

Climax and Conclusion
These narratives unavoidably collide as Christina, stricken with grief and anger, ultimately finds Jack and shoots him in a tragic conflict. Situations come cycle with this tragic climax, causing Jack's literal heartbreak, Christina's symbolic heartbreak, and Paul's physical heartbreak as the old heart disease reemerges.

Paul, neglecting his weakening health, help Christina in getting rid of Jack's body. Nevertheless, his condition aggravates, and he dies in his car while awaiting medical help. Christina, hinting at her pregnancy with Paul's child, is last seen considering on the beach alone, facing an uncertain future, ending the movie on an evocatively ambivalent note.

"21 Grams" is a deeply moving movie that uses a non-linear narrative structure and powerful performances. It deftly checks out human beings' capability to deal with life-changing scenarios and the extensive effects of their decisions. Its title straight referrals the complexity and weight of human life, ingeniously attending to universal styles of sorrow, regret, love, redemption, and death.

Top Cast