Hilary Swank's 'What They Had' is a homecoming drama about denial, memory and love

The plot follows Swank's character, Bridget Ertz, who returns home after her Alzheimer's suffering mother, Ruth (Danner), wanders off into the blizzard on one fine Christmas Eve


                            Hilary Swank's 'What They Had' is a homecoming drama about denial, memory and love

The first trailer of 'What They Had' was recently released by Bleecker street on Monday, July 23, and let's just say it has broken some hearts already. The film, starring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster and Blythe Danner, is the debut feature film venture from writer-director Elizabeth Chomko. Following the story of Swank's character, Bridget Ertz, who returns home after her Alzheimer's suffering mother, Ruth (Danner), wanders off into the blizzard on one fine Christmas Eve, the plot is an emotional rollercoaster documenting what ensues next.

The concerning developments lead Bridget to reunite with her family meaning she must work and cooperate with her brother Nicky (Shannon) and father Burt (Forster) to decide how to best go about the situation and to decide what's best for Ruth. And of course, in all of this, Burt continues to struggle with letting go of their life together, as he knew it.

First things first the trailer shows Bridget returning home after what seems like ages. The viewers are next let into the fact that Nicky has been trying his hardest to convince and help Burt realize that he must prepare for Ruth's worsening state, but as is clear Burt is just not ready to let go of his wife. He does not want her living in a facility or anywhere but home. 

Robert Forster (Getty Images)
Robert Forster (Getty Images)

As the trailer proceeds, the growing tension between Bridget and her father becomes more visible, and soon she admits how she and her husband have seemingly hit a rough patch in their relationship. In her own words, she says, "You know, everyone thinks being alone is so bad. You know what's lonely? Looking over at the man you've been married to for the last 20 years and thinking, 'He must be feeling the same way I am.'"

Blythe Danner (Getty Images)
Blythe Danner (Getty Images)

Ruth's illness gets a crystal clear depiction in the form of the trailer's narrative to the point where she does or says something funny, which is actually layered with the tragic idea of what is about to unfold. Like the time, where she refers to Burt as her boyfriend and then talks about planning to have another baby.

And as deep in denial as Burt might seem of his wife's condition, his love and conviction in their relationship remain solid. "For better or worse. Sickness and health. Death do you part. That is the promise," he vows when Bridgets warns her that Ruth might lose all her memory. "She's my girl. You can't take my girl away from me."

Apart from playing the character of Bridget, Swank also plays as executive producer along with Shannon, Fyzz Facility’s Wayne Godfrey and Robert Jones and Interlock Capital's Levi Sheck and Mike Rowe. Shafin Diamond Tejani, Dean Buchanan, David Grace, Byron Wetzel are all executive producers too.

'What They Had', had initially premiered at Sundance, and will be debuting in theaters on this October 12.