• Warning: Spoilers
    Familiar with the play about the star-crossed lovers? Know enough about the best selling novel-turned Netflix series? Well combine them and you get this 1985 tv masterpiece. There is no better or accurate way of me explaining what this TV movie is like.

    Maybe it's just my opinion, but it seems that there's a rise in mental health issues. And suicide is the number one thing associated with it. For something in the 80s, it is a huge surprise that such an undertaking was a success.

    I know I keep bringing up the time period and the production, that makes it all the more surprising.

    "Surviving" stars Len Cariou, Zach Galligan (Gremlins), Marsha Mason, Paul Sorvino, Ellen Burstyn, River Phoenix and Heather O'Rourke. Could anything go wrong? No, just the opposite happens.

    Zach Galligan plays high school senior, Rick Brogan. He has it all: friends, two younger siblings (Phoenix and O'Rourke), loving parents, money, and brains. His father is a doctor (Cariou) Who Rick idolizes. Rick is ready to become a doctor just like his dear old dad while still doing photography on the side. When Rick seeing his dad is being unfaithful, it kills him inside. Rick starts acting out, throws his medical exam, and spends more time with his new girlfriend, Lonnie (Ringwald) Who recently got out of the hospital for a suicide attempt. Her parents (Sorvino and Mason) and Rick's parents disapprove of them being together, but that just makes their love stronger. The chemistry between Galligan and Ringwald is tremendous. I will go so far as to call this the best romance in all of Ringwald's career.

    With things in Rick and Lonnie's lives spinning out of control, he proposes a pact to end it all. They do it by gas inhalation. They are found by Lonnie's parents in a heartbreaking scene. The whole thing is heartbreaking thus far, but the reactions to their deaths amp up the heartache.

    When the movie turns into pre-"13 Reasons" what we get may actually exceed the show. The acting by all is first rate and shocking how there were no Emmys or Golden Globes. Seeing everyone's reactions and coping are simply breathtaking. What makes the arguably better than 13 Reasons is that this focuses primarily on the family and this shows how people get through it. Surviving is a full tale that shows the best effects of losing a loved one.

    This is one of the best films I have ever seen, tv or theatrical.

    4/4