"Earnest" is an adjective that keeps cropping up in the generally polite reviews of Things We Lost in the Fire, starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro and directed by Danish writer-director Susanne Bier. "This film has the gift of gathering strength as it goes on," writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times, concluding that it is "worth seeing despite its unevenness." Kyle Smith in the New York Post remarks that the movie "was made to win awards, and I'm here to present it with one: the Cliche of the Year honors, otherwise known as the Hackney." But Claudia Puig in USA Today is more upbeat, writing "The movie makes some missteps, most of them in pacing and length, and the story veers occasionally into melodrama, but it is saved by the powerful performance of Benicio Del Toro."