Demolition is a 2015 American drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Bryan Sipe. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, and Judah Lewis. The film opened the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and was theatrically released on April 8, 2016, by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Davis, a successful investment banker at a firm founded and run by his father-in-law Phil, is involved in a car accident that kills his wife, Julia. Recovering in hospital, he attempts to purchase some candy from a vending machine which malfunctions. Davis drafts a complaint to the vending machine manufacturer that includes some venting of his personal experiences. This leads to a series of anonymous conversations with a customer service representative, Karen Moreno, in which they end up sharing details of each other’s life burdens. Davis eventually meets Karen in person on a train, and they part as friends after she’s helped him manage the burden about grieving his lost wife. Davis is sufficiently moved to try to track her down at home, where she lives with her boyfriend and boss, Carl, and her 15-year old troublemaker son, Chris, and they begin spending time together as friends. Chris initially dislikes Davis, but later grows not only to like him but to help Davis cope. Carl, however, believes that his girlfriend and Davis are having an affair, much to his chagrin.
Davis’ changing emotional state causes him to behave erratically. He notices that he is being followed by a green station wagon. In the aftermath of Julia’s death, Davis’ company started a foundation in her name that will award an annual scholarship; Davis behaves disrespectfully towards one of the award candidates, and Phil forces him to sign a letter nullifying the scholarship. Later, Davis purchases demolition tools from a hardware store and begins destroying his house with the assistance of Chris. When Davis finds an ultrasound of Julia’s from the previous year, he is devastated that she failed to inform him.
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