The Things They Burned is a 2010 American Drama film written and directed by Lynne Ramsay starring Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, George Clooney, Dave Franco, Chloë Grace Moretz, Josh Duhamel and Melissa McCarthy.

The film was a pheneomenal success at the Sundance Film Festival and was in the line up for the Palm D'Or for Truly Moving Picture as well as securing Golden Globe nominations for Blanchett, Watts and Franco's performances.

The film was released in a brief theatrical run starting from May 23rd, 2010 to June 10th, 2010.

It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray format on October 14th, 2010.

The film was shot mainly in central Northern Conneticut and Madras, Oregon.


The film is told through a bevy of stories that the protagonist Kim Derby experiences with those she engages with which all trace back to the death of a young 14 year old girl.

Kim and Tina

Kim Derby is a lonely, hygienist who works for a small temp agency doing a multitude of bizarre jobs to scrape by as she is still dealing with her husband running off on her four years prior.

On a sunday afternoon whilest preparing to make her head out for the collective of late packages she smashes into a young 14 year old girl riding past her drive-way on her scooter.

The girl is smashed in the face as the back window collides with her face and and is she is killed almost instantly.

Kim calls the paramedics and is there at the hospital at the time of her demise.

She checks out however before the parents of the girl arrive and enters intensive therapy.

She reconnects with her ex-husband and begins casual phone conversations with him.

She also begins to send phone calls to her dying mother back in Boston who she hasn't spoken to since their last argument when she was 14 and chose to run off with with what would eventually be her cheating husband.

Kim is advised by her therapist to confront her demons and then decides to courageously confront the parents of the girl she hit, learn her name and who she was so she may pay her respects.

Kim learns the girl's name to Tina Seymour-Callas the youngest child of the rich Walter Seymour-Callas.

She then comes to meet Mr. Callas and his lovely wife Elizabeth but does not divolge she was in fact the driver who hit and killed her daughter and who was let off on accoutn of bail for manslaughter.

She becomes a confidant for a seriously bereaved Elizabeth who hides her pain behind fake smiles and constantly breaks down when alone with Kim.

She meets Tina's elder brother and sister Ronnie (Max Thieriot) and Jessica (Sara Paxton) who are very quiet and distant.

She however is able to make a connection with the son Ronnie and he stutters that his parents are liars.

Kim upon having a look in Tina's room secretly uncovers diaries and books containing notes about her life which have torn pages cutting off certain paragraphs though she refers to something called the "Beast" which visits her at night.

Kim then suspects abuse by the parents and investigates into the family constantly overshadowing them.

She eventually comes to learn that Walter Seymour has been sexually abusing his daughters Jessica and Tina and physically and mentally assaulting his son Ronnie as well as making him participate in it all.

She along with a Boston Pennweld a troubled boy she had met earlier uncover photographic proof on the matter and have the authorities paged to come and arrest Walter.

However upon their arrival they find a stabbed to death Walter who had been killed only an hour prior by Jessica with a kitchen knife and she is arrested for first degree murder.

The mother Elizabeth comes to visit Kim at her home and breaks down crying admitting she knew what he was doing to her babies but ignored it wanting the proper family, something she never had as her father was poor and abusive and she practically raised herself.

Kim confesses to her that she was the one that killed her daughter and Elizabeth breaks down further.

Kim turns Elizabeth over to the authorities for her negligence in the matters concerning her husband their children and soon is mailed a letter by Ronnie who is put under the contemporary care of Kim who has Boston living with her.

The letter is revealed as a suicide note from Tina to her sister and brother telling to tell her boyfriend Harley and the friends she does have Jonas and Eden that it's her only escape from Hell to Heaven.

The story of Kim and Tina concludes with Kim visiting Elizabeth with her son Ronnie at the penintentiary she is being held at to show the suicide letter which causes her to have a mental breakdown.

After she subdued they pay a visit to Jessica and Kim assures her everything is going to be alright.

Kim and Boston

Kim at Tina's funeral comes to meet a troubled 19 year old Dartmouth alumnus Boston Pennweld.

Boston is visiting the grave of his mother who up and passed on him due to leukemia and he is struggling to deal with the loss.

He has a fellow student Katherine Sellers vying for his affection and Kim through the advise of her therapist of trying to help people she meets with their problems as a way of amendment over guilt of the death of Tina.

She helps have Boston medically emancipated from his father who is need of a kidney transplant but is an abusive alcoholic.

She helps Boston open up to Katherine before she moves her attention to Dartmouth Varsity Jock Dean McAllister who has a earning for her.

She helps inspire Boston to engage back into art, something which both him and his mother loved.

He in turn helps her with getting the proof to have Walter Seymour-Callas arrested for the physical and sexual abuse of his children.

However Walter is murdered by Katherine's bestfriend Jessica Seymour-Callas his eldest child and the dead Tina's older sister.

Boston afterwards then decides to come off living in a funded dormitory with his horrible roommate at Dartmouth and moves in with Kim who offers to help with transportation to and from Dartmouth when he needs it.


  • Cate Blanchett as Kim Derby
  • Naomi Watts as Elizabeth Seymour-Callas
  • George Clooney as Walter Seymour-Callas
  • Dave Franco as Boston Pennweld
  • Chloë Grace Moretz as Tina Seymour-Callas
  • Sara Paxton as Jessica Seymour-Callas
  • Crystal Lowe as Katherine Sellers
  • Max Thieriot as Ronnie Seymour-Callas
  • Josh Duhamel as Robert Illione
  • Melissa McCarthy as Casablanca Thoms
  • Maisie Williams as Eden Sermone
  • Brennan Bailey as Harley Duff
  • Brandon Killham as Jonas Thoms
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