Death and Mourning in Hollywood After September 11

The New York Times also has an article worth reading on films made in the wake of September 11 that deal with characters mourning the untimely death of a friend or family member. None of these films have explicit political references to that tragedy, but as the article suggests, the subtext seems pretty clear. First-time director Tim Daly even notes that many of family homes in these “mourning films” prominently feature American flags.

Among the films included in this category: Fear X, Winter Solstice, Bereft, Imaginary Heroes, and The Upside of Anger. Mike Binder, writer-director of Anger, acknowledges that he conceived his film in direct response to the events of September 11, starting the script later that week.


  1. Dylan Said,

    March 13, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

    After reading your summary of the article, but before clicking over to read it myself, my first thought was to think of “25th Hour,” so I was happy to see that it was mentioned.

    Besides it’s overt use of Ground Zero, I think it also speaks to the overall themes the article is mentioning… speaking of Monte’s impending incarceration almost as death, and the moral ambiguity for he and his friends.

  2. Chuck Said,

    March 13, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

    Yeah, I avoided mentioning 25th Hour in my entry because it’s the one Hollywood film to blatantly allude to 9/11. The film’s emphasis on Monte’s desultory wandering through NYC seems more explicit than the characters in these films who mourn unexpected deaths without the backdrop of New York City.

  3. Chuck Said,

    March 13, 2005 @ 4:55 pm

    Come to think of it, I’m surprised the Times article didn’t mention Garden State, which would seem to fit this category perfectly, especially with Braff’s character, Andrew, returning home to New Jersey (home of many of the 9/11 victims) for his mother’s funeral only to find himself living in a haze and (quite literally) at one point staring into an abyss.

    I’ve only glanced at a few reviews, but I think the (usually negative) comparisons to The Graduate occlude this reading of Braff’s film.

  4. Cinemonster Said,

    April 20, 2005 @ 5:30 pm


    Apocalyptic tales may have resonated with me most strongly when I was a teenager (I’m still amused by how hard I sobbed at the approaching end of the world in Armageddon of all movies!) but I’m still drawn to…

  5. Fran Said,

    February 9, 2006 @ 1:14 am

    I cannot begin to express my anger for hollywood.. my boyfriend of 4 years and hopefully fiance lost his father in 9/11. His youngest sibling turned 10 last week, and his brother is a vulnerable 14. HOW CAN WE SIT DOWN WITH THESE CHILDREN WHO LOST PARENTS AND SHOW THEM THE HORRORS TO FILL THEIR NIGHTMARES? Anyone involved with those films is going to hell. Shame on Americans, so united when the towers fell, who cannot deny the chance to exploit sorrow and pain.

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