Grueling in both subject matter and running time, _Near Death_ nonetheless poses questions that most of us will have to answer, at some point in our lives, for either ourselves or a loved one. Do what extent should measures be taken to preserve a life that might be full of pain and sustained by a machine? Should the goal for terminally ill patients with little hope of recovery be life support, or comfort? At what point do we give up hope of recovery? While expressing ample skepticism about the function of much of our society's expensive, intrusive life-support technology, _Near Death_ also gives us little glimmers of hope - if only regarding the degree to which we can support each other in coming to terms with death, pain, and degeneration. The warmth and patience of one Dr. Taylor in this film is especially heartening, and very istructive in understanding, in human terms, the medical and philosophical issues at play. An unforgettable viewing experience
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