The Brothers Bloom

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Cast: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane, and Maximillian Schell 

Written by: Rian Johnson

Directed by: Rian Johnson

Genre: Comedy, Adventure/Caper, a bit of Romance

Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Released: September 9, 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Side Note

As some of you know, I also write for a movie blog called MovieBabble. I recently did a piece about The Brothers Bloom over there. *Note: that piece contains some minor spoilers, as it’s a retrospective for the 10th anniversary, not a review. If you’d like to read it, you can find it right here.

Adrien’s Role

Adrien plays “Bloom” (no first name is ever given), a semi-willing partner in con to his brother, Stephen (Ruffalo). The two have run scams for years, with Bloom usually playing the charming one who approaches the mark. Bloom wonders who he really is, after a lifetime of his brother writing roles for him. And he wants out.

What I Liked

The overall whimsy of the movie is just delightful. The color palettes, costumes, music, line delivery, facial expressions… it’s just all so fun.

Then it gets really dark, really serious, and really sad. But it remains captivating, and somehow still charming and warm.

The chemistry between the actors is absolutely fantastic. Ruffalo and Brody portray a sibling bond convincingly, and we really see the love there. Weisz plays perfectly off of every actor she shares a scene with, but especially Brody and Kikuchi.

What I Didn’t Like

My least favorite part of The Brothers Bloom is the beginning, when they are children. Don’t get me wrong, the narration by the late great Ricky Jay is fantastic. And the little boy playing Bloom (Zachary Gordon of Whimpy Kid fame) makes me want to pat him on the head and give him cookies.

However, the actor playing young Stephen (Max Records) works my last nerve. From his vocal fry (trying to sound cool, I guess) voice, to his poor line delivery, I just can’t with this kid. Hopefully, he has improved in the years since.

He makes the otherwise sweet opening segment unbearable for me.

What I Liked, continued

Weisz’s character, Penelope is quite relatable, as I grew up sheltered, as well. Not to the extreme of Penelope, but I definitely have a lot to learn about social interaction. She is also as educated as I would love to be: speaking multiple languages, playing multiple instruments… and so on.

Penelope becoming less and less naive as the film progresses is very well done, and is a great aspect of the story.

Nitpick Time

This is probably the pickiest of all my nitpick sections so far. Honestly, I love this movie so much, that nitpicks are really all I have.

The biggest issue (other than young Stephen) I have is, get this… a steady-cam type shot that is, well, not steady. Yes, that’s right, there is about a three-second long awkward moment where the camera stops, then shakes. It sounds ridiculous to complain about something like that. However, it reminds you this is a movie being filmed, and it takes you out of the experience for a bit. I have no idea why this mistake was left in the film, other than it was probably an expensive and time-consuming shot to do, and director Rian Johnson didn’t want to do it again.

In Closing

The Brothers Bloom is one of my favorite Adrien Brody movies, and I think it is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of his (and/or any of the other actors).

If you like movies like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, or The Sting, then I think this will be right up your alley. If you like comedy, I recommend it. If you like drama, I also recommend it (it switches gears pretty drastically a couple of times).

Basically, just watch it


Movie Overall: 7/10
Brody Performance: 9/10



Author: Patricia Henderson

Patricia Henderson is a 40-something from Northern California. She has loved both movies and writing since she was a child, so this was a logical choice.

2 thoughts on “The Brothers Bloom”

  1. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I agree with most of what you shared. I love the writing and direction as well as the masterful acting. I’m a grown man and I was a couple of years younger than the younger blooms character in the film and the movie still makes me laugh and cry at the end when we discover the fate of the older bloom. But right after we see the true beauty of the story and I leave it with tears of joy. I fall in love with rachel weisz everytime. Also this is the movie that made a big fan of Mark ruffalo out of me. A charming little film that I watch to lift my spirits whenever I need too.


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