This film builds its story on the powers of human connections in the heart of life-altering tragedy. Andrew (Kutcher) is an amateur wrestler that returns to his home town upon hearing that his twin sister has been murdered. While made to deal with the legal aftermath of the murder trial, he meets Linda (Pfeiffer) who has recently lost her husband, and is waiting for a judge to rule on the case.

This is an emotional tale of love, compassion and loss. Andrew has been forced to abandon his aspiring wrestling career, and the burden of his loss eventually takes over his life. He listlessly roams the courthouse and yearns for vengeance. He soon discovers that Linda is in a similar predicament. Predictably, the two characters find common ground, comfort in a shared experience, and eventually love as they are able to rescue each other from the brink of despair.

Through a fragile dependence the two are able to let go of much of the weight that has weighed them down. While Andrew is consumed by rage, Linda is faced with the trials of raising a developmentally challenged son alone, and finds herself at her wits’ end.

Both Kutcher and Pfeiffer show that they are capable of stepping outside of their usual roles– that of the slapstick fool and the steely beauty, respectively– but much of the film lags under the weight of repetitive tragedy, and threatens to spill over into self-pity.

Still, Personal Effects hits home at certain moments, despite some seriously unbelievable story lines. A romantic drama must have some foundation in reality, and while the beginning we are convinced of the plot, the writers move a bit abruptly towards a sappy romance, instead of the dazzling emotional rollercoaster that it could have been.

In the end, Personal Effects is a decent, probably above-average drama that will give us something to think about. The acting shows some room for development, but overall, the story tries to demonstrate the human ability to recover and continue after tragedy has struck.