Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with reviewers on this site, as I found this film one of the most depressing I've seen in quite awhile. I imagine the writer and director, Andrew Levitas, wanted to bring forth the messages of enjoy life while you can and be open with family and friends, and while there is some poignancy near the end of the movie, I just found the road to get there a slow and torturous one.

    The characters and dialog came across to me as wooden and stilted, like they were just saying their lines but I never got a sense of really knowing them. Additionally, it seemed like the cast occasionally would come out with an ad-lib or "inside joke" where they all laughed, but when I spot this in a film it really annoys me.

    The story, often told in flashbacks, revolves around the rich patriarch of the family, Robert Weinstein (Richard Jenkins) wanting to have his doctor (Terrence Howard) help him in an assisted suicide. Robert has managed to stay alive 12 years , after getting an initial prognosis that he would be dead in 6 months. However, now he's tired of all the debilitating procedures that he has endured and wants to end it all.

    So his estranged son Jonathan (Garrett Hedlund) is returning to New York, although still filled with anger and resentment, to join his mother Rachel (Anne Archer) and sister Karen (Jessica Brown Findlay) at the hospital. Thus, the bulk of the movie centers on the family dynamics playing out in a 24 hour period, which to me, as mentioned were filled with morose, depressive, and melodramatic scenes.

    There's a side story here, where Jonathan befriends 17-year-old Meredith at the hospital, who is terminally ill with bone cancer. Levitas makes sure we know that all the kids in the cancer ward will never enjoy the life of those who aren't ill.

    Amy Adams is advertised as a star of the film, but her screen time is limited. She always "lights up the screen" with her charisma, but her character here is half-baked and underdeveloped. I thought it was an affront to the viewer to list her as one of the main attractions here.

    I don't mean to sound curmudgeonly or mean-spirited here, but unless a viewer is undergoing similar personal themes in their lives and can relate that way, I would not regard this movie as entertainment, but more of an exercise in melancholia, the way it is presented.