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21 Grams (2003)

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A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother, and a born-again ex-con.

Director:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)
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Popularity
3,192 ( 288)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 76 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Paul Rivers
Naomi Watts ... Cristina Peck
Danny Huston ... Michael
Carly Nahon ... Cathy
Claire Pakis Claire Pakis ... Laura
Benicio Del Toro ... Jack Jordan
Nick Nichols Nick Nichols ... Boy
Charlotte Gainsbourg ... Mary Rivers
John Rubinstein ... Gynecologist
Eddie Marsan ... Reverend John
Loyd Keith Salter Loyd Keith Salter ... Fat Man
Antef A. Harris Antef A. Harris ... Basketball Guy
Melissa Leo ... Marianne Jordan
Marc Musso ... Freddy (as Marc Thomas Musso)
Teresa Delgado ... Gina
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Storyline

This is the story of three well-meaning but flawed people: Paul Rivers, an ailing mathematician lovelessly married to an English émigré; Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife, happily married homemaker with two young daughters, with hiding a secret past; and Jack Jordan, an ex-convict who has found in his Christian faith the strength to live a law-abiding life and raise a family. They will be brought together by a terrible accident that will change their lives. By the final frame, none of them will be the same as they will have learnt harsh truths about love, faith, courage, desire and guilt, and how chance can change our worlds irretrievably, forever. Written by Miguel Cane (Stepford@yahoo.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How much does love weigh? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

21 gram See more »

Filming Locations:

Memphis, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$274,454, 23 November 2003

Gross USA:

$16,290,476

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,427,839
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Melissa Leo; and one Oscar nominee: Naomi Watts See more »

Goofs

When Cristina Peck wants to give blood to help Paul Rivers, a nurse uses a blood collection system called Vacutainer to collect her blood. This system uses the power of vacuum to collect blood. To do this a vein has to be pricked with the needle and then a tube must be pricked too with the other side of the needle then the vacuum does the rest. In the film we see that the tube is already pricked to the needle, so it wouldn't work. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael: Check, please.
Cathy: Look Daddy, a volcano.
[Cathy blows bubbles into her soft drink]
Michael: It's very pretty. Drink up your volcano. All right. We're going. Mommy's waiting.
Cathy: Daddy, please. Just one more minute.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A María Eladia, Pues cuando ardió la pérdida Reverdecieron sus maizales See more »

Connections

Referenced in ER: Twenty-One Guns (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Cut Chemist Suite
(1998)
Written by Chali 2na, Ulises Bella (as Ulises Baldomero Bella), William Abers (as Willy Abers),
Jose Espinosa (as Jose Ines Espinosa), William Marrufo, Raul Pacheco (as Raul Pacheco Jr.),
, Justin Poree, Asdrubal Sierra, Jiro Yamaguchi, Pablo Castorena,
, Alfredo Ortiz and Cut Chemist (as Lucas Christian MacFadden)
Performed by Ozomatli
Courtesy of Almo Sounds, Inc.
By Arrangement with Natural Energy Lab
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absorbing and powerful direction & acting; the story structure was less than great
3 January 2004 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made a well-deserved leap into the renown film-making pool with Amores Perros, and his follow up 21 Grams shows him with plenty of talent to spare. He also gets three (or more, depends on how effective one thinks the supporting performance were) forceful, compelling performances out of Sean Penn, Benicio Del-Torro, and Naomi Watts. They're involved in three interlocking stories- Penn as a mathematician with a rottening health and a near-rottening relationship; Del-Torro's found Jesus Christ after being in and out of jail for part of his life; Watts is a house-wife who may have some deep troubles within her mind. Each of the three leads doesn't go for cheap drama, and each one plunges the depths of their own abilities to find truths that might not be possible with lesser material or a lesser director. I won't say much more about the stories, however I do have something to say about the structure of the film. The script brings some mesmerizing scenes, ones with great tragedy that bring out a viewer's compassion.

Never-the-less, there was something about the structure that I didn't think was all that great. In films like Once Upon a Time in America, Reservoir Dogs, and even Memento, the scrambled story structure had a purpose, adding appropriate twists and turns for the audience. 21 Grams (like Amores Perros in a sense) has that non-linear basis to it too, and sometimes it works for the audience to react. But I think there would be a lot more power to how these characters' fates and tragedies unfold if it was told linearly from start to finish. In many moments in the film I found myself knowing a little too much before a particular scene unfolded, or I found myself guessing about something that I didn't need to (one of the points of non-linear storytelling is answers first, questions later). It wasn't an aspect that made the film bad, yet the stock that writer Guillermo Arriaga and director Inarritu put into this structure over interlocking the stories in order, or perhaps telling each story separately, is the film's only drawback.


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