Synopsis by Mark Deming
Tragedy opens the wounds a family has long struggled to ignore in this powerful emotional drama. Bennett Brewer (Aaron Johnson) was a bright, handsome, and talented young man who was suddenly killed in an auto accident late one night while driving home with Rose (Carey Mulligan), a girl who had been a close friend for years but had only recently become romantically involved with him. Bennett's death devastates his family: his mother, Grace (Susan Sarandon), is overcome with grief and can't stop wondering what his final minutes must have been like; father Allen (Pierce Brosnan) is forced to turn away from his mistress (Jennifer Ehle) and try to comfort a woman he's no longer certain he loves; and brother Ryan (Johnny Simmons) mourns Bennett while becoming painfully aware that he will never live up to his late brother's example in the eyes of his parents. As grief slowly brings the family's emotional troubles to the surface, two unwelcome characters come into the picture -- Rose, who has discovered she's pregnant with Bennett's child, and the truck driver (Michael Shannon) who unwittingly took Bennett's life. The first feature film from writer and director Shana Feste, The Greatest received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.