"My heart is moved by all I cannot save," poet Adrienne Rich writes, "so much has been destroyed." One of the challenges of conscious aging is to acknowledge our losses and to empathize with the pain of others. This theme shines through Twilight, a murder mystery directed and co-written by Robert Benton. Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, and Susan Sarandon star, and it is a delight to watch these seasoned actors mine the nuances of their characters.
In the opening scene of the film, private detective Harry Ross (Newman) is shot in the groin while rescuing the 17-year-old daughter (Reese Witherspoon) of movie actors Jack and Catherine Ames (Hackman and Sarandon) from the arms of a boyfriend in Mexico. Two years later, he is still doing odd jobs for this family and living in a room above their garage.
Although Harry, a former cop, has been unhinged by alcoholism and the downward spiral of his career, he still allows sorrow to touch his heart. While investigating a blackmail attempt on Jack, he uncovers some dark secrets about the Ameses and their friend Raymond Hope (James Gardner). They have hardened hearts and have become immune to the suffering of others. Harry, on the other hand, proves himself to be a good steward of sorrow. In the diminishment of his life, he nurtures magnanimity and wears it well.