A Simple Plan ★★★★★

Absolutely flawless. A character-driven thriller with rich moral and emotional complexities with constant shifts of power, manipulation, and understanding. Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) is the slow one, the one who's been made fun of all his life for being dim and blunt. Hank (Bill Paxton) is the put together one, the college grad, the well-spoken, likable family man who takes some assumed responsibility for his brother. But suddenly, in a moment, you realize Hank doesn't see the world as clearly as he lets on, that so much of his put-togetherness is made up of bits and pieces of nostalgia and naiveté. Jacob, often, sees the world more clearly, understanding people more fully and is more kind and real. And then, there's Sarah (Bridget Fonda), the least suspecting of them all but with perhaps the darkest heart.

Paxton and Thornton have never been better. I found myself weeping for these characters at multiple points -- which immediately sets this apart from similar setups/stories. The tragedy here is real and its not just in the extraordinary situation the characters find themselves within. It is the event that brings definition to their lives and the sadness that has always existed right under the surface.

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