Hollywood is in mourning. Films like Gone Baby Gone, In the Valley of Elah, and Reservation Road all feature parents grieving over lost or dead children, railing at authority and looking for someone to blame. NPR’s Bob Mondello sees a theme here very different from the usual practice of endangering children so heroes can save them. These films are not about heroism, he notes. They're about grief.
On the surface, they're not terribly commercial—as Mondello puts it, “Our children are dying; would you like a jumbo popcorn with that?”—but the experience of loss must be resonating, Mondello says, or it wouldn't be explored in so many films. It’s tempting to interpret this as the nation’s grief over Iraq surfacing, he notes, but he thinks it's something broader: a sense that the world is out of our control.