The Messenger movie still
The Messenger movie poster

The Messenger (2009)

Drama, Romance, War

Director: Oren Moverman
Writers: Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman
Starring: Jena Malone, Ben Foster, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson

Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster), a decorated hero who has just returned from Iraq, is angered to learn that his injuries mean he is assigned to the Army's Casualty Notification service - a "desk job". Will is taken under the wing of Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) who teaches him how to break the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers-directly, impartially, impersonally. As Will learns the full importance of his new role, he becomes aware that the true scars of war are not wrought on the battlefield, but on the homefront. But when Will finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband's death, Will's emotional detachment begins to dissolve. Featuring tour-de-force performances from Foster, Harrelson and Morton, and a brilliant directorial debut by Oren Moverman, The Messenger is surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival.

Plot summary from IMDb: While on a recent deployment to Iraq, US Army Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is injured when an improvised explosive device goes off within close proximity to him. He is back in the States recovering from the more serious of those injuries, including one to his eye and leg. He has resumed a sexual relationship with his long time girlfriend Kelly, despite the fact that she is now engaged to another man who Will knows. With the few months Will has left in his enlistment, the army assigns him to the Casualty Notification Team in his area. Not having a background in counseling, psychology or grief management, he is unsure if he is well suited to this job. He is partnered with a career soldier, Captain Tony Stone, who teaches Will the precise protocol involved in the job. Tony tells Will, who quickly learns by on the job experience, that this job has its own dangers. As Will learns to adapt to the range of emotions of the next of kin, he is unprepared for the reaction of Olivia Pitterson, whose husband was killed in Iraq. His initial encounter with Olivia leads to him wanting to get to know her better, which may not be in either her or his best interest. Despite being a recovering alcoholic, the more experienced Tony tries to guide Will as best he can under their collective circumstances.

Awards: Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 44 nominations.
Runtime: 113 min



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