Stories of our Lives



Davis, a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law, Phil, to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis' letters catch the attention of customer service rep, Karen, and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris, Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life

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Questions for Discussion

  1. Comment on this critic’s observation: “The defiance of social mores and expectations can be the stuff of great drama, and watching Jake Gyllenhaal register almost no feeling after the sudden death of his wife gives ‘Demolition’… an exciting level of unpredictability.”

  2. What do you think Davis meant by telling Chris he wasn’t using the word “fuck” correctly?

  3. Writing letters to a vending machine company’s customer service desk may be a first in cinematic history. Why do you think Davis wrote so personally to this seemingly irrelevant business?

  4. When do you think Davis started to realize that his urge to dismantle ’things’ was in a sense necessary for his development as
    a person?

  5. What did you make of the oddball outsider connection between Davis and Chris? What did they give each other?

  6. What parallels, if any, exist among the journeys of Davis, Karen and Chris?

  7. Was Davis “put back together” at the end of the film?

  8. Respond to the quote: “Repairing the human heart is like repairing an automobile. You have to take everything apart, just examine everything. Then you can put it all back together.”

  9. Does this story remind you of any scripture or myth or poem?

  10. Have you ever known someone who was beside themselves in grief? How did you respond to them?

  11. How could this movie speak to our culture obsessed with happiness and yet has a high level of depression?

  12. When is the last time you observed you were really living your own life, not just enduring it?
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