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Taking Your Life (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama | 1 April 2005 (USA)
A woman wants the last week of her life to be filmed, at the end of which she will commit suicide, for no other reason than she feels she has lived long enough.





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Credited cast:
L. Trey Wilson ...


A documentary maker meets an old woman at a screening of his new film, she tells him she wants him to film the last week of her life, then she will commit suicide at the end. The woman is not sick but believes she has lived a long and good life and has nothing more to live for, the documentary maker thinks it is fantastic, but he and his crew's attitudes take a change as the big day gets closer. Written by Jim Moncur

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Release Date:

1 April 2005 (USA)  »

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$50,000 (estimated)

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User Reviews

"Taking Your Life" would be suicide not to see!
14 September 2005 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

I got a chance to see this wonderful film at the Breckenridge Film Festival, and I can honestly say, it was 54 minutes completely well spent!

The subject matter is not for the faint of heart. The filming of the last voluntary week of someone's life and consequent suicide would make most say (as the Potential Investors in the film do) "snuff film" - but it's not - absolutely not.

It's an under-the-microscope look at the freedom of choice - and the beauty of one woman's choice. The audience is taken on a gentle roller coaster as we learn fascinating tidbits about Helen (brilliantly portrayed with earth-shattering honesty by Kathryn Joosten), an older woman who has survived her husband and daughter, and who has come to the decision that she is ready to move on. She asks a filmmaker and his crew (Seale, Farley & Wilson) to document the final week of her life and to give her the same quiet dignity he has given to the other subjects of his documentaries - and as a filmmaker searching for his "vision", he accepts.

But this look at Helen's decision to commit suicide is not pandering. Beetner, as writer, gives his audience a very real glimpse into this controversial subject with honesty, humor and by giving equal time to both sides of the argument. We see this story through the eyes of Hilary, the filmmaker's assistant (played with tender pathos by Jill Farley) - as she constantly questions the project. Beetner's voice rings clear, not as Nate, the filmmaker, as one might expect, but through Helen - offering us a defense of the absolute lucidity a person must be in to make a decision of that magnitude.

Shot digitally, Beetner as Director/Editor seamlessly shifted back and forth between "documentary" and film, simply by shooting the "footage" in a 16:9 frame. It made the difference between the two worlds crystal clear, without jarring the eye. It was a brilliant choice, perfectly matching the script to the media.

I was riveted by the performances by all - especially that of Kathryn Joosten - for whom it seems this role, this film, was especially crafted for.

An overall excellent film - I was duly impressed by this filmmaker's first effort!

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