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Life is going well for Bob Jones: great job, beautiful loving wife and a baby on the way. Then he finds out that he has kidney cancer that will leave him dead within months. He sets out to videotape his life's acquired wisdom for his child, and ends up on a voyage of self-discovery and reconciliation.Written by
Learning from a Doctor, that you only have months to live, would have to be one of the hardest pills anyone could swallow. Yet in the 1993 drama, My Life', our hero is facing the end of his life, and doing it in the best way he can. The world we live in today is full of people who are dying from cancer just like Bob Jones, but no movie has showed what a struggle it is. Here is a movie that does not shrug away from any of the underlying issues Bobs has to face, as he is living his final days. We all need to watch this film and cherish what an experience it really is.
Meet Bob and Gail Jones, a happily married couple expecting their first child, who are passionately devoted to one another. But tragedy strikes their otherwise untroubled middle-class home when Bob learns he has advanced terminal cancer. Faced with this profound crisis and the realisation that his child may never know him, Bob decides to make a video documenting his life so that his son will have some knowledge of his father. Creating the video proves to be an emotionally and mentally Herculean task, as Bob discovers he is as shallow as the public relations material he produces for a living. Before he can successfully complete the video, Bob has to make peace with himself, reconcile with his estranged parents, and accept what is happening to him is inevitably going to kill him.
What a great story for a movie. I like the way we see Bob Jones struggle through the entire movie, as I am sure that is how it is for all cancer victims. The story is also beautifully filmed, with the shots where Bob is making up the video for his son, done exceptionally well. This movie was written and directed by Bruce Joel Rubin, and was his directorial debut. I feel that this story had a part of his own life within it, (his mother, Sondra, was in the film and the film is dedicated to her memory), but in no way did this take away from the viewing experience. In fact, I feel that it enhanced it all the more.
The movie stars two wonderful actors in Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman. They share a very unique bond on this movie as you really believe they are in love. They also show that they are struggling with what ultimately will be the end of their fulfilling marriage. Keaton's performance is one of his best, as I feel he was a great choice to play Bob. I like how we see that Bob is filled with anger towards his family, especially his parents (which would have to be contributing to how sick he is becoming). The scenes we see with Bob's family are great, as they build real tension, and show that Bob's life is not content as it needs to be.
Other important characters in My Life' include the Chinese healer, Mr. Ho (Haing S. Ngor), who tells Bob that he needs to get his life in order, before it is too late. Bob is unsure how to take the healer, accusing him of doing something'. Mr. Ho is a vital character to the final make-up of the movie. I also have to mention baby Brian' that Bob and Gail had. The twins, Brian and Andrew Camuccio, were great babies to use in the role of the Jones baby. Considering the point that the movie was at, their happiness helps to balance the sadness that is taking place as Brian's father is close to death.
This leads to some of the great scenes in My life'. As I have said all of the video documentary scenes are great, as they give both the audience and Brian a great insight into the life of Bob Jones. The scenes that show Bob's anger towards his family are great, as we get to see that his life was not and is not what it should be. This is no more apparent than at Bob's brothers wedding reception, where he lets fly with some scathing attacks at his entire family.
Yet it is also good to see that Bob has made peace with his family towards the end of the film, as he can finally rest in complete peace. The end of this movie, while it is difficult to watch, was a great and fitting conclusion. Showing Bob near to death and extremely sick, was a game move that I feel worked. I can understand people not liking it, but you have to be prepared to be confronted by this man's death, with death always being confronting in any movie or circumstance.
In closing this is a movie I will always return to when I want to get my life' back into some sort of prospective, as it helps you to make sensible choices about your future. It points out to its audience that we should all appreciate life while living on this earth. If we don't, we run the risk of dying an unfulfilled life. I never had the chance to meet my mum's mum, as she died before I was born. In a way I am glad I did not see her before she died, because she died a most unpleasant death, from smoking related emphysema. So from watching this movie, I can imagine what her last few days on this earth would have been like. I also like the way that baby Brian, keeps Bob's legacy alive, as he is a happy child, just his Dad was before he died. The tagline to this movie is so true, when it comes to the end of human life, every moment counts'. We all need to do this, as we never know when our last day on this earth could be upon us.
CMRS gives My Life': 4.5 (Very Good Brilliant Film)
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