19 April 2006 | bob the moo
A genre movie of course but a surprisingly raw and frank one that is all the better for avoiding the sentimentality of its daytime-telly peers
Having left her native Scotland to go to New York to pursue her career, Sarah returns home to tell her family and friends that she has cancer and has little time left to live. Specifically she has returned to spend time with her ex-boyfriend Sam, who is now married. His wife Charlotte is not supportive but Sam does it anyway. While the two of them spend time together they start to become a bit closer and recall memories from the past; meanwhile Sarah also tries to mend things with her present but emotionally distant father Frank.
Within five minutes I realised that I had started watching a genre film in a genre that I generally don't like the "seize the day while at death's door" movie. Generally an excuse for a load of hankies to come out and the audience to be put through the Hollywood emotional mangle, it is not an experience that I enjoy that much. However, despite some clunky and preachy moments, this is actually quite an engaging and raw experience that I found quite enjoyable, well, maybe "enjoyable" is not a good word. The characters and the emotions are well painted and I can forgive the film its soapy, sweeping opening sequence mainly because it does get much closer to reality from then onwards. Of course it is still a genre movie and it does have its fair share of "seize the day" dialogue but it generally avoids the clichés, cheese and moods that you will find in countless television movies cluttering the daytime television schedules.
The cast help this by being pretty convincing and bringing the best out of the good script. Edmond worried me at first but got stronger as it went on; she was convincing in the main and she works well with her support cast. Butler is not quite as good but he works well with Edmond although he could have done better with Gogan, who herself is perhaps weakened by the fact that her character is not all that it could have been. Cosmo is as solid as he always is and I found him to be easy to care about and relate to (perhaps due to him being rather bottled up). Jean's direction is good and generally avoids sentimentality, to the benefit of the material generally.
Overall then this is a genre film but it is one that is worth a look if, like me, you generally don't care for the genre. It is soapy at times (specifically the opening ten minutes is very "genre") but generally it is convincingly raw and all the better for it. The cast bring this out well and director Vadim Jean seems to have little or no interest in manipulating the audience emotionally or drawing out fake emotions and despite my initial concerns, it was certainly one of the better films I have seen albeit in a generally weak genre (in my opinion).