Perhaps it is the fact that I went through a strikingly similar situation that the differences between this experience and my own were more pronounced. I watch the film and I cannot help but be affected on an emotional level. In some ways there is a stark realism to the film — it is a very genuine situation with some very real feelings dredged up. Still, there is something that is quite unreal, creating a form of detachment for me.
While feelings are dug up, I could not find a way into the characters. While they all had distinctly different personalities, I did not feel I got to know any of them well enough. To further muddy the water, the middle of the film has a number of secondary characters appear and then quickly disappear, never leaving much of a mark. I cannot help but feel that there are large chunks of film that were left on the editing room floor. Then there are the videotaped interludes, which are set up as a video being made for posterity. We get clips of this throughout, which breaks the film down into chapters. There is no real indication of when it was made, although it was clearly prior to the start of the two week timeline. While it may be something nice for family members, it seemed to cut into the dramatic path the film was trying to carve.
Sally Field as the ailing matriarch anchors Two Weeks. Her performance is touching and sweet, and very real. Without her, this movie would have slipped into the abyss of anonymous tearjerker films that get run ad infinitum on those upper cable stations that not many people frequent. Still, none of them are overtly bad, and many have good performances. The supporting cast here includes Ben Chaplin, Tom Cavanagh, Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: CI), and Glen Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as the four siblings.
One great moment comes when Anita's husband, Jim (James Murtagh), is talking to his step-kids. They are trying to get him involved, while he feels he is being forced out of his own home as his feelings are being ignored. He goes so far as to describe their arrival as "descending locusts." In a way it is true; it is just too bad we don't get much time with Jim as he deals with his pain.