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During a bout of dementia, Ruth (Blythe Danner) gets out of bed at night and wanders off into a blizzard. Ruth’s brief disappearance triggers the homecoming of her daughter Bridget (Hilary Swank) and teenage granddaughter Emma (Taissa Farmiga). The episode also renews lifelong tensions between stubborn patriarch Burt (Robert Forster) and estranged son Nicky (Michael Shannon). As they all debate placing Ruth into a memory-care facility, family ties begin to fray, rekindling a rivalry between the adult siblings.

Elizabeth Chomko's tough but tender debut drama sensitively explores the trials, traumas, and unexpected moments of levity that come with caring for a parent with Alzheimer's disease. Danner's poignant portrayal of a woman who can feel her identity slipping away is matched by a strong ensemble cast, who bring a ragged, lived-in quality to their roles and relationships. By turns moving, troubling, and unexpectedly funny, What They Had avoids the easy sentimentality of the disease-drama genre to offer a full family portrait—in all its messy complexity.

Sun. 1/21, 3:30 p.m., Eccles, PC
Mon. 1/22, 8:30 a.m., MARC, PC
Tue. 1/23, 3:00 p.m., Sundance Resort, Provo
Fri. 1/26, 6:15 p.m., Grand, SLC
Sat. 1/27, 8:30 p.m., Egyptian, PC

YEAR 2017

CATEGORY Premieres


RUN TIME 101 min

COMPANY Bleecker Street

PHONE (212) 951-5706


Executive Producers
Director Of Photography
Production Designer
Costume Designer
Music Supervisor

Artist Bio

Elizabeth Chomko

Elizabeth Chomko is an American director, screenwriter, playwright, and actress. She is an alum of Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab, and in 2015 she won an Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting with What They Had. Her plays have been produced by The Blank Theatre, The Inkwell Theater Development LAB, and The Kennedy Center’s New Plays Festival. Chomko has appeared as an actress in films and television and onstage across the U.S. and in London.