Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) is looking forward to a fresh start. This book editor from San Francisco is the former victim of emotional and physical abuse, and she still suffers from PTSD as a result. But David (Geoff Stults) is a refreshing change of pace. He is kind, loving and transparent. This young divorced father has nothing to hide and always sees the best of people. He's never said a single bad thing about his ex-wife, Tessa (Katherine Heigl), even when he had every reason to do so. So Julia moves to LA with him to live closer to his daughter. Unfortunately, that also means they’ll live closer to Tessa. Tessa is a perfectionist, just like her mother, and she is raising her daughter to be the same way. Tessa is also obsessive, unstable and determined. She wants David back — to be a family again. They can't be a family, and it's all Julia's fault! Never mind that Tessa's mind games, marriage trap and subsequent cheating led to the divorce, it is still all Julia’s fault. She’s in the way, and she must step aside, or Tessa will make sure that Julia’s dark past comes back to haunt her.
This is a great thriller that touches on domestic and emotional abuse and their painful aftermath. David was married to an emotional abuser and hadn’t known it. He’s also blind to Tessa’s duplicity and manipulation, which is also true for many former victims. Their daughter is the perfect tool. That's how Tessa comes between him and his healthy new relationship, and she makes full use of it. (The poor child!) Julia is fully aware of her own abusive former partner. How could she not be? Domestic violence played a huge role in her life. And that’s what this movie focuses on. This isn’t a FATAL ATTRACTION, bunny-boiler type of thriller. It delves more on the psychological damage from covert abusers that refuse to let go. Heigl does an amazing job here. After her very public smear campaign against Shonda Rhimes (creator of GREY’S ANATOMY) and the creators of KNOCKED UP, she disappeared for a while, and then we found out the reason for her sudden disappearance. Hollywood didn’t want to deal with her over the top sense of entitlement and diva-like tantrums, and she couldn’t get good acting jobs for a while. She expressed an interest in returning to GREY’S ANATOMY, hoping her past behavior wouldn't be a problem, but Shonda Rhimes wanted nothing to do with her. Hollywood is giving her another chance though, albeit reluctantly. To be fair, this is her best work, and she shows her range as an actress. She’s capable of doing more than rom-coms and TV dramas. Dawson and Stults are also great in this, and Cheryl Ladd is chilling as Tessa’s overbearing mother. This film is an American remake of a popular Korean thriller (the original creators also wrote the Hollywood screenplay), and I’m glad we got to watch it. Give it a whirl if you’re in the mood for a psych thriller with narcopath abuse and triangulation. I give this four out of five Caffeinated Strawberry and Kiwi Smoothies (Mini’s Special!).