What They Had: A Movie Review

If you’re looking for a heartwarming drama with a strong cast, What They Had is definitely worth checking out. Here’s our review of the film.

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“What They Had” is a heartwarming and bittersweet film about a family dealing with the decline of their elder matriarch. The film follows the children of Ruth (Blythe Danner) as they grapple with the decision of whether or not to place her in a dementia care facility. The performances are outstanding across the board, with Hilary Swank giving a particularly moving performance as Ruth’s daughter, Bridget. “What They Had” is a beautiful and moving film that will stay with you long after you’ve seen it.

What They Had

Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home to Chicago when her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, Ruth (Blythe Danner), wanders off in the middle of the night. Once back, Bridget reluctantly agrees to her fatherura wedding despite the fact that her brother, Nicky (Robert Forster), and his wife, Lorraine (Aisling Franciosi), are expecting their first child.

Estranged from her family for years, Bridget is forced to deal with her past and present as she tries to find a way to connect with her mother before it’s too late.

What They Had is a touching and poignant look at the effects of Alzheimer’s on both the sufferer and those closest to them. Swank and Danner give amazing performances, and Forster and Franciosi are equally impressive as the brother and sister-in-law struggling to deal with their own grieving process while trying to support Bridget.

The film is beautifully shot and directed by Elizabeth Chomko, making What They Had an impressive debut feature.

The Characters

The Characters:
The movie What They Had follows the story of a family wrestling with the elder’s dementia. TheMovieDB.org describes the cast as, “a retired, widowed woman with Alzheimer’s disease who lives with her son, his wife, and their daughter in Bodeen, Illinois.” The cast includes Hilary Swank as the daughter-in-law, Robert Forster as the father, Blythe Danner as the mother, and Josh Lucas as the son.

The Plot

When their mother, Ruth (Hilary Swank), is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, siblings Bridget (Hilary Swank) and Nicky (Michael Shannon) return to their childhood home in Chicago to assist in her care. While they are there, they must each confront the unresolved issues from their past.

The Plot:
Ruth is an elderly woman who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her daughter, Bridget, and son, Nicky, return to their childhood home in Chicago to help take care of her. Ruth is in the early stages of the disease and is still able to live on her own, but her children are concerned about her safety.Nicky is married and has two children of his own, but he is estranged from his wife. He is reluctant to return home, but he knows that he needs to support his sister. Bridget is a successful writer, but she is struggling with her own problems. She is angry and resentful towards her brother for leaving her to care for their mother alone. The two siblings must learn to work together and deal with their own issues in order to take care of their mother.

The movie follows the siblings as they deal with Ruth’s illness and their own personal problems. The film covers themes of family, love, loss, and redemption.


“What They Had” is a touching and heartbreaking film about dementia, love, and family. The film follows the Bagley family as they grapple with their matriarch Ruth’s (Blythe Danner) dementia. While Ruth’s daughter Bridget (Hilary Swank) tries to care for her mother from afar, her brother Nick (Robert Forster) is left to deal with the situation on a day-to-day basis. The film explores the various ways in which each member of the family deals with Ruth’s illness, and ultimately asks the question of how much we are willing to sacrifice for our loved ones.

Themes of love, sacrifice, and family dynamics are explored in a deeply moving and thought-provoking way. The performances are outstanding across the board, but special mention must be made of Blythe Danner’s heart-wrenching portrayal of a woman struggling with dementia. “What They Had” is a must-see for anyone who has ever been touched by dementia or loved someone with this disease.

The cinematography

The film “What They Had” is a heartwarming story about a family dealing with their mother’s dementia. The cinematography is top-notch, delivering beautiful shots of the Colorado landscape. The acting is also very good, with Hilary Swank delivering a powerful performance as the daughter trying to deal with her mother’s decline. The film is touching and tragic, but ultimately uplifting.

The ending

The ending of “What They Had” was both devastating and hopeful. The film’s protagonist, Ruth (played by Hilary Swank), is forced to confront her mother’s dementia when her father (played by Robert Forster) can no longer care for her. As Ruth tries to grapple with her mother’s illness, she is also forced to confront the secrets of her own past. The film culminates in a heart-wrenching moment when Ruth finally opens up to her father about the pain she has been carrying for years. While the ending is bittersweet, it also provides a sense of hope and closure for the characters.

Final thoughts

“What They Had” is a heartwarming and beautifully acted film that explores the complex dynamics of a family dealing with dementia. While the plot may be slow for some, the film’s thoughtful exploration of aging, love, and loss will resonate with many viewers.


Please watch the trailer for Please give the What They Had a watch. What They Had is a heartwarming comedy-drama about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The film stars Hilary Swank, Robert Forster, Blythe Danner, and Josh Lucas.

Where to watch

“What They Had” is available to watch on Hulu.

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