There are times when we ask ourselves in our subconscious what if this or that happened, what would we do, how would we react, how would we survive; even though it may not have happen now who's to say it won't tomorrow. This film is one of those rare films that actually broke my heart and made me cry, and it still does whenever I watch it again, it's also a film you never forget.
The film is tragedy about the aftermath and what we would do and behave knowing that the world we used to live in, is gone. there are many things that I appreciate about this film, for one thing there are never any special effects. We see no big explosion or any other graphic details; instead it has a power of suggestion which actually works. We actually witness in documentary style what the end of the world could actually look like. From seeing long lines which take hours to wait to get groceries or even a tank of gas, the need for batteries which is one of the last sources of power, garbage is littered everywhere. But the two images that I found the most chilling were the breakdown in the Eco System, from seeing the leaves and vegetation turn brown and red, as well as the sky becoming darker from the dust the bombs spread and has blocked some of the sun and contaminating the air. The second image was seeing gravestones and crosses everywhere from back or front yards one neighborhood homes you would pass by. Down to the park and playground, just seeing several gravestones behind a playground and an empty swing now swinging emptily just made my heart bleed knowing kids use to play there.
But what makes the film work the most is the characters themselves whom all feel like real people, both major and minor we actually get to know these people as if their people that could live in our neighborhood or pass by on the street. Were completely involved with these people and the significant moments that occur which can be touching and heartbreaking. From Carol (Jane Alexander) talking to her daughter Mary about love and sexuality which Mary will never experience, seeing Scottie (Lucas Haas) burying his action figures and thinking of running away, Carol watching a family film and listening to her husband's voice on an answering machine as if she's waiting for him to come back home. It even comes down to the minor characters and what happens around town, community leader (Leon Ames) through his radio communication activities we get a sense of what happened to the world, Phil (Kevin Costner) seeing him walk the sidewalk with a chest drawer to be used as a coffin for his baby, down to seeing the elementary school play "The Pied Piper which is a little ironic to the current situation since that play takes place in the years of "The Black Plague" an overwhelming catastrophe that cost hundreds of lives.
However what makes the film all the more heartbreaking is there's a sense of familiarity to the film. The character Brad the oldest son I identify with because he is very much like myself when I was his age, the town reminds me of the towns I lived in. Even seeing the final family film footage reminds me of some of the multiple family film tapes that were made with my family. In the end of the film as the final characters pass away it made me break down and cry for a long while, just the knowledge knowing there was once a happy family with some happy memories are never going to be able to make any more. All these familiar things are things I don't think about too much but after seeing this film it made me think about how valuable all those little things really are to me.
The lessons in this film are showing that no one wins in a nuclear war and the terrible results it produces. But mainly just how valuable life truly is and how little time we truly have to live it. These are lessons that should apply not just to our current era but the future in general.
The family and other souls in this movie may pass away but will live in our hearts forever.
Review by hellraiser7 from the Internet Movie Database.