BROTHERS tells the powerful story of two siblings, thirty-something Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) and younger brother Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal), who are polar opposites. A Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, the aptly named Grace (Natalie Portman), with whom he has two young daughters. Tommy, his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who's always gotten by on wit and charm. When his Black Hawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains Sam is presumed dead and the Cahill family suddenly faces a shocking void. Tommy tries to fill in for his brother by assuming newfound responsibility for himself, Grace, and the children. In the grief and strangeness of their new lives, Grace and Tommy are naturally drawn together. Their longstanding frostiness dissolves, but both are frightened and ashamed of the mutual attraction that has replaced it.
But Sam is not dead; he and a fellow soldier have been captured by Taliban fighters. In Afghanistan's harsh, remote Pamir Mountains, Sam is subjected to traumas that threaten to rob him of his very humanity. At the same time that Sam's sense of self is being destroyed overseas, Tommy's self-image is strengthening at home.
When Sam unexpectedly returns to the States, a nervous mood settles over the family. Sam, uncharacteristically withdrawn and volatile, grows suspicious of his brother and his wife. Their familiar roles now nearly reversed, Sam and Tommy end up facing the ultimate physical and mental challenge when they confront each other. In the shifting family dynamics, who will dominate? Directed by six-time Oscarr nominee Jim Sheridan (IN AMERICA, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER), BROTHERS tells the compelling tale of how two brothers come to terms with issues of love, loyalty, and manhood and with the woman caught between them.