Her Four Virtues is a 2010 American Drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont starring Naomi Watts, Bradley Cooper, James Marsden, Chace Crawford, Skylar Astin, Taylor Momsen, Ty Simpkins and Morgan Freeman.
The film secured the Palm D'Or nomination for Best Drama and earned a Satellite and Saturn Award for Watts for Best Leading Actress: Drama.
The film was first screened at the Philadelphia Convention Centre as part of the pre-midnight screening on March 24th, 2010 and was then given a limited but widely successful theatrical release.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray format on Septemberr 14th, 2010.
The film was hailed by Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert, Empire Magazine and Rolling Stones' Peter Travers as one of the best drama films of the past decade of the 2000's crossing over into the 2010's and one set for critical acclaim and study.
The film was shot in Philadelphia on a course schedule and came to land central actor Astin and actress Momsen in following films as part of the recommendation of head actress Watts and director Darabont.
Watts served as a producer and advertising executive on the film quoting it's incredibly tenacity and raw emotional power and served as a casting agent overseeing with director Darabont and casting director Carly McGrath the auditions.
Watts' powerful lead performance as the struggling Kristen Leroy was conceived by Darabont with exactly her in mind and as was Bradley Cooper's character Johnny Petrie.
An alcoholic and passive aggressive Philadelphia woman is put in charge of raising her sister's four incredibly troubled kids after her and the father pass in a tragic accident involving a bridge accident.
She comes to have the care of three adolescents and her young 12 year nephew.
She comes to clean up her act in an attempt reach through to them but finds herself shut out them and also in emotional turmoil with a disaproving community out to ensure she loses custody of her three nephews and niece, a disapproving school faculty (apart from a single teacher who can empthazize with the troubled woman).
Things become further complicated as Kristen (Watts) the black marked guardian comes to attract a handsome advertising agent who starts up at the work she puts herself into: Johnny Petrie (Bradley Cooper).
Kristen then devises to take each of her individual new kids one at a time with their respective problems and personal issues in need of consoling.
First Rhys (Chace Crawford) 20 and one who had found himself unable to enter into the real world and become indepedent and whom has reverted to alcoholism which Kristen can much relate to.
Second recently turned 18 year old Michael (Skylar Astin) who was originally an academic A + flowing student until his parents' unfortunate demise and his ivy league friendship circle and girlfriend abandoning him when he needed them most, leading him into finding consolidation in the first person willing to extend a hand, an outcast brother and sister duo part of a ruthless gang engaging in reckless felonies and illicit activites, which spiral out of control and have Mike and the sister Janet seriously thinking over the consequences of their actions.
Thirdly her 16 going on 17 year old niece Allison (Taylor Momsen) who is skipping out school, taking random car trips and prostituting herself out to all the hormone driven idiotic males of her new school earning a terrible reputation and a situation Kristen found herself in at her age.
Kristen breaks through to her before ultimately Allison in a break down argument with Kristen heads to the nearest train station which sits atop a bridge similiar to the one which collapsed and came to crush her parents' car on their anniversary night.
Allison prepares to make a dive before the next oncoming train but is stopped at last minute by Kristen who finds her and stops her.
Fourth and finally her young 14 year old nephew Nathan (Ty Simpkins) troubles with local middle school bullies who constantly come down upon him for dweeby stature, his passion for writing out stories, one titled "The Fallen Angel and Her Four Virtues."
The story tells of her and her breakthroughs with them but Kristen ends up causing trouble in attempting resolve Nate's issue with the middle school bullies as they make a remark in concern to his dead parents and she lashes out.
She is released on a technicality after being arrested and is after that incident finally deemed by social services not capable and or emotionally prepared for raising her sister's children.
She consults with her on and off fling Johnny and even comes to discover as her high school reunion approaches him coming into her life and taking a job where she started up work (and is now fired from due to her assault charge) is not coincidental as he indeed an old boyfriend of hers from high school originally named Rick, whom she ran away from a long time ago after he knocked her up, cheated on her and then when attempting to return her up and fled again out of grief and panic over the miscarriage of the baby he planted inside her.
Kristen's whole tragic story then comes to light and she prepares to send the kids off to live with their Uncle Stevey from upstate New York and at least they'll be back in the city which was their home.
They however now refuse to leave her custody having all become close and connected to her emotionally.
Unfortunately she in a final plea agreement with the court with the aid of Johnny/Rick, her gay bestfriend Ivan who helped in fixing up Michael and Allison's problems and Mr. Norris (Morgan Freeman) the one understanding teacher in Kristen's crusade loses out and then she in an argument with all four comes to lose them, as they slip out and stage an altogether runaway back home.
They however are caught at the same train station Allison attempted suicide at and ultimately Kristen after passionately kissing Johnny telling him she forgives him but like her they need to let each other go and hugging Ivan and Mr. Norris comes to board the train with the kids and sit with them apologizing for what she has said and though they won't be together everyday like they had come to like they always have Philadelphia.
The film concludes with Rhys staring out the train window, Mike and Allison smiling and Nate falling asleep on Kristen's shoulder as she sees her final glimpse of her sister and their past mother Helen.
- Naomi Watts as Kristen Leroy
- Bradley Cooper as Johnny Petrie/ Rick Jamieson
- James Marsden as Ivan Pour
- Chace Crawford as Rhys Anderson
- Skylar Astin as Michael Anderson
- Taylor Momsen as Allison Anderson
- Ty Simpkins as Nathan Anderson
- Morgan Freeman as Mr. Lionel Norris
- Cindy Morgan as Helen Anderson
- Will Patton as Robert Anderson
- Terry Kinney as Mr. Breckenridge
- Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Corbin Norris
- Jane Campion as Miss Tate
- Mary-Margaret Humes as Principal Jean Heffen
- Donna Pescow as Social Services Worker Doris Layson
- Deborah Rush as Disapproving Mother Charlotte Bronway