DVD Brilliant Mistakes

DVD Brilliant Mistakes
DVD Brilliant Mistakes
Rating: 5.4
Genres: Drama | Mystery | Romance
Director: Paul Brighton
Writers: Paul Brighton, Doug Klozzner
Stars: Daniel Dambroff, Christopher Clawson, Aria McKenna
Marcus Wright (Daniel Dambroff) is in love with Gabby (Elise McNamara). A devastating accident nearly kills her and renders her in a vegetative state. She can no longer walk or talk. Marcus is determined to make good on his promise to marry her, but he is not only challenged by this unfortunate event but made to jump many unexpected hurdles, including fending off Gabby’s mother Sandra (Aria Mckenna), who clings to Marcus and takes her relationship with him beyond both of their boundaries. Marcus then meets Elliot Thurston (Christopher Clawson), a published author who wrote the novel “Brilliant Mistakes,” a story about the author’s personal regret. Marcus is a big fan of Elliot’s positive energy and subsequently his writing, and a bond of common loss, dreams and goals ties them together. While Elliot brings color and life to Marcus’ seemingly uncertain future, something is wrong and Marcus’trust in others is yet again weakened. Brilliant Mistakes’ hopeful and inspirational ending will … Written by Tyler Bennett
Country: USA
Release Date: 9 April 2013 (USA)


  1. Like so many films I review, especially as of late, this is another film which likely you may not have heard about, but is perhaps worth seeing. For despite pretty much having no actor amongst the bunch with any type of name recognition, and the actors seeming a little green at times, it does have a sense of heart which can get to you. Well, if you can excuse some aspects of the film anyway.

    Characters & Story

    What is presented in the beginning is a love story in which young Gabby (played by Elise McNamara), your general sweet, all American girl, who loves baking, is on her way to work and her boyfriend calls. She doesn't answer because she is a careful driver, and never one to drive above the speed limit, but then something in the road makes her swerve and next thing we know she is damn near a vegetable who may be able to breathe on her own, but has seemingly no motor skills and cannot talk. Despite this though, boyfriend Marcus (played by Daniel Dambroff) lets it be known his love and loyalty to her will not end, especially considering that day was going to be the day he was to propose.

    Thus leading to a film in which you think you are going to simply watch flashbacks of the happy couple as he waits for good news, but that doesn't happen. For one, Gabby's mom Sandra (played by Aria McKenna) complicates things because she cannot mentally handle Gabby's condition, and then there is Elliot (played by Christopher Clawson). Elliot is a published writer who seemingly enchants Marcus, due to him being an English teacher with a strong fascination in literature, and since their meeting at a grief group session, the two grow close. Both share their stories about their loved ones, with Elliot talking about his brother but, due to Elliot's actions, their friendship seems to come to an abrupt end. Then, right after, Sandra calls with news about Gabby which I think will lead most of you to tears.


    What I loved most about this movie was the love story. Gabby and Marcus make a cute couple and seem like the kind you'd see on a teen drama on ABC Family, and their story, as a whole, almost seems like it would befit a young adult novel. For, with Marcus being so loyal, despite being told Gabby may never recover and, even if she does, she won't be able to walk and talk, seeing him want to stick by her despite that, and talk with her and seem so in love that her situation seems not to matter, really just makes you want to say "aw."


    However, despite what you may see in the trailer, let me forewarn you that while this love story is present, a good portion of the movie features two very discomforting relationships, both of which involve Marcus. The first one being his relationship with Sandra who, while grieving, finds herself acting like a horny schoolgirl trying to be intimate with her daughter's boyfriend. And it doesn't end there, for while seemingly Elliot is just this weird guy who is bonding over mutual grief with Marcus, then things get weird and it begins to seem like Elliot is perhaps falling in love with Marcus and to me, though you recognize people grieve in different ways, it just seemed like both stories were just unnecessary exclusively due to the romantic, or perhaps lustful in Sandra's case, undertones of which even Gabby's sister Erin (played by Trisha Carr) calls Marcus out on.

    Overall: TV Viewing

    The highlight of this film is without a doubt the love story. For while it sort of shares focus with the madness listed in the critique, it truly is what keeps you watching the film to see if this will end happy or with Marcus forever waiting. However, what is mentioned in the critique is so wtf-ish that it drives me to saying that this is only worth TV viewing. But, considering this may never actually end up on TV, I'd just say if you are bored one Sunday and want to watch something interesting, for a lack of a better term, check this film out.

  2. Note: This review contains spoilers.

    I recently saw this film while visiting a friend in Stratford-Upon-Avon and they had purchased the DVD online at Amazon, it had taken a while to receive so the title became a running joke, "maybe they made a brilliant mistake and we were never meant to see this film." Truly, we didn't know what to expect as it looked like a love story replete with the typical "Vow" overtones and "devoted guy" story line. But this turned out to be quite a surprise.

    The main characters, Marcus and Gabby (pre-accident) are seen through some flashbacks, and at times, can come off as a bit saccharin sweet. But, I guess the proper way to encapsulate their love in three-minute bursts is to do so in a linear, "I love you, we're in love, don't mess with our love," sort of fashion. For some odd reason, it all works.

    There are some great, truly great, performances by the funny and quirky Cheryl McMahon who plays Janet Hayes, the "grief counselor from hell," and Christopher Clawson who convincingly portrays a deeply troubled writer, Elliot. Aria McKenna, Daniel Dambroff and Trisha Carr, all pull their own weight, with moments of brilliance and some rare, unfortunate moments of stiffness. But again, a tight, highly talented ensemble, most likely plagued by a tight budget and the pitfalls of indie filmmaking. Shockingly enough, this film truly does not look or feel like an indie film. It looks like it was shot, directed and edited by seasoned people who cared about the characters and overall message of loyalty and love.

    So, in a nutshell…Gabby (Elise McNamara) is in a car accident on her way to work ( I'm guessing early in the morning since she works at a bakery). Her boyfriend Marcus (Daniel Dambroff) finds out while jogging, probably before his school day begins as a teacher in what appears to be a prep school of some sort. He is torn by this event and must rise to the challenge of doing the right thing. He was going to ask her to marry him, now he is suddenly confronted with being a caregiver. He is conflicted, somewhat, by his need for comfort and is possibly giving the wrong signals to Gabby's mom, whom is overwhelmed with grief and drowns her sorrows in wine and self-pity. In her confusion, she practically molests Marcus, while her daughter is in a vegetative state in the next room….This happens a few times. It seems that everything goes wrong for Marcus.

    Marcus is made to jump some terribly high hurdles, some that seem a bit impossible in real life, but as itself life will have it, they happen at the worst time and in ways I've read about in true life stories. He is adamant to reject Sandra's advances as his moral compass straightens up. As an audience, we are in much need of relief and a reality check, and luckily Gabby's younger/older sister ( we couldn't tell), comes to rescue and voices our disgust with Sandra's actions. Well-played by the goth, edgy sister. Go Erin! We've all had enough of Sandra's blurred boundaries.

    Then at the right moment, Elliot, the writer, comes to one of the grief meetings and lights up the room, in a seemingly homo-erotic way. One that didn't necessarily make me uncomfortable, but simply had me and my friends thinking, what's up with this guy? I guess that was the writers intent. Elliot takes Marcus under his wing, they both share a passion for writing and he infuses the film with an upbeat persona that slowly gets darker and darker as time goes on. He gets these intermittent headaches that cause us all to believe he is ill. But what happened is worse.

    ***spoiler**As Marcus builds trust in Elliot, as we feel comfortable that Elliot finally rescues Marcus from Sandra, we discover that Elliot was hiding something all along and was the cause of the accident that ran Gabby off the road and caused her to hit a tree. During the film, Elliot is visibly consumed with guilt. Earlier when at a restaurant, we see a foreshadowing of this when he asks Marcus where the accident occurred….but it is played rather brilliantly by Christopher Clawson, who does not lead the audience on in any way. In fact, the character himself does not truly come to terms with it until he realizes he may not get anywhere with Marcus, either sexually or as a friend. It's possible Elliot has a history of letting people down, it's possible he simply embraces Marcus to replace his younger brother, who was met with an untimely death at 11 years of age. It's also possible Elliot is in writer-mode the whole time, researching his next novel. These are all subtle things then screenwriter and director created flawlessly.

    When Marcus finds out Elliot was involved, we see a different side of Marcus. One that is truly disappointed in the human race as a whole. The end, which I won't spoil, offers some speck of hope for this character.

    When the film was over, our friends looked at one another and almost simultaneously said, "intense." The film was truly intense and it personally restored my faith in American-made indie films. And kudos to the director, Paul Brighton, whom I assume is a Brit, or posing as a Brit, on the other side of the pond. Either way he did a stunning job along with his cinematographer and crew.

    All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable film that I'd recommend in an instant.

Leave a Reply

Lost Password