Although normally I focus on films with at least five leading character, I decided to go with a somewhat smaller cast. “21 Grams” is one of the best movies ever made and it has complicated, strong characters. Only three important characters. Here they are.
Played by: Sean Penn
Paul is a mathematics professor with a fatal heart condition. Unless he receives a new heart from an organ donor, he will not live longer than one month. Paul's wife wants him to donate his sperm so she can have his baby even if he dies. The two are civil to one another, yet distant. Paul finally receives a heart, from Christina Peck’s late husband. After he found out about the donor, he wants to find Christina. When he does, the two develop a relationship. Though Paul has a new heart, his body is rejecting the surgery and his outlook is grim.
Played by: Naomi Watts
Christina is a recovering drug addict and now lives a normal suburban life with a supportive husband and two children. She is a loving mother and active swimmer who has left her days of drugs and booze behind. When her husband and daughters are hit by a car, she wants to move on with her life but soon falls back into her old habits. As Cristina begins to dwell more on her changed life and the death of her girls, she continually focuses on a desire to exact revenge on Jack. She goads Paul into agreeing to murder him.
Played by: Benicio Del Toro
Jack is a former convict who is trying to better his life. He is using his new-found religious faith to recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. One night Jack hits a man and two little children, who are killed due to the accident. It’s Christina’s family and Jack is stricken with guilt following the accident. Despite his wife's protests to keep quiet and conceal his guilt, Jack tells her that his "duty is to God" and turns himself in. While incarcerated, he claims that God had betrayed him, loses his will to live and tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide. He is released after Cristina declines to press charges, as she realizes that putting Jack in prison will not bring her family back. When Jack is released, he is unable to reincorporate himself into normal family life, and instead leaves home to live as a transient, working a job of manual labor.
Favorite Character: Christina Peck