This is one of those movies that slipped through the cracks. I'm actually not sure if it even came to theaters in the Atlanta area. But, it's definitely not one to be missed. 2009 gave us some of the best Iraq-war themed movies yet (for example: The Hurt Locker and Brothers). This one goes right up there.
Starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson as Staff Sgt. Will Montgomery and Captain Tony Stone, soldiers whose jobs include notifying the families of the fallen. Each family member they meet is memorable in how they deal with, quite possibly, the worst news they could ever get. But, things get interesting when Montgomery gets involved with the widow of a soldier after giving her the bad news. As the troubled widow, Samantha Morton gives what should have been an Oscar-worthy performance. The whole cast is undeniably incredible. Even the very small roles of the family members are memorable ones, most notably that of Halley Feiffer and Steve Buscemi. The acting is just icing on the cake, though. The direction, screenplay, and the fact that there's just what's needed to get the point across, makes this movie worth your time. The issues are relevant. The story is timeless, while still being very much an important tale for our time. The stance isn't preachy or one-sided.
I definitely recommend this as a movie not to be missed. Nominated for 2 Oscars (Best Supporting Actor - Woody Harrelson, and Best Original Screenplay), The Messenger has slipped into my Top 10 of the year.