Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find joy in life. Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. Yes, this can be viewed as Hollywood formula with mass appeal and loads of stereotypes and clichés. On the other hand, it can be taken as a very accessible commentary on friendship, companionship and finding the joy in life. I prefer the latter. Either way, it does require a certain suspension of reality. Just ask Roger Ebert, who has made it his personal mission to bash the film.
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are both in prime form, and after a string of weak films, director Rob Reiner does a masterful job of keeping Nicholson from going over the top and from having Freeman kill us with sweetness. Even more impressive is the pacing of the early hospital scenes ... nothing is forced, no line of dialogue or shot seems hurried. This is two patients coming to grips with their situation. While the worldly travels are impressive, my favorite parts of the film are the scenes between the two beds in the same room.
On the downside, will someone please tell Hollywood that Morgan Freeman in the cast does not mandate a blasted voice-over from the man? We know he has a great voice, but if the narration adds nothing to the story, please just let the film do its thing.
There are some laugh out loud moments and one-liners, but there are also some strong moments of drama ... death has a way of creating those. This is a combination of road trip, buddy film and coming-of-age ... very unusual for two senior citizens! So while the story line surprises are few, sit back and enjoy excellent acting (including Sean Hayes), wonderful direction and a few life lessons. Good stuff for a movie that all ages can enjoy.
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