When grief overtakes us, we find ourselves on a path we have not chosen and one that doesn't allow us to turn back. Loss leads us to a land of limbo between what was and what is yet to be. This is the situation of the characters in Bounce. Writer and director Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex) has created a heart-affecting film that depicts the transforming experience of loss and the chaotic, conflicting emotions of grief.
Buddy Amaral (Ben Affleck) is a cocky young Los Angeles advertising executive who has just closed a big deal in Chicago. When his flight home is delayed, he meets Greg (Tony Goldwyn), a TV writer and playwright who also lives in Los Angeles. Interested in spending the evening with Mimi (Natasha Henstridge), an attractive young woman, Buddy gives his plane ticket to Greg, who wants to get home to his wife and two sons. The plane crashes killing all the passengers on board.
Back in Los Angeles, Buddy experiences the kind of survivor guilt war veterans often report. He succumbs to alcoholism and is sent to a rehabilitation center in Palm Springs for 90 days. Working the 12 steps and trying to make amends to those he has wronged, he decides to track down Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow), Greg's widow who is a small-time realtor. Without disclosing his real reason for entering her life, he sets it up for her to handle the deal for his agency's new office building. She is overjoyed to receive such a large commission, and they begin dating.
"Grief," according to Stephanie Ericsson, "is the time when we are blessed with the opportunity to complete a natural process of spiritual death and rebirth before our natural death." This process is vividly portrayed in how Abby and her boys deal with their loss. She doesn't want to be seen as a poor and pitiful widow and so she tells people she is divorced. Scott (Alex Linz), her oldest son, believes that his father was rushing home to keep a promise to him and thus he feels responsible for the death. In an act of deep tenderness, Buddy lifts this burden from the boy's shoulders.
In one of the many magic moments in Bounce, Abby and Buddy are eating in a restaurant together. A woman walks by with toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Without a word, Abby jumps up and frees it from her. Watching this small act of kindness, done without fanfare or a desire for credit, Buddy realizes that he has found an extraordinary woman. Together this couple has to slowly work through the grief and guilt they share. Buddy's heart is softened and Abby learns to love again.