10 user 22 critic

How to Die in Oregon (2011)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Drama, Family | January 2011 (USA)
In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize a terminally ill person's request to end his or her life with medication. At the time, only Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had ... See full summary »


(as Peter D. Richardson)

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5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Bruton ...
Ray Carnay ...
Cody Curtis ...
Paul Darley ...
Glenn Elfman ...
Ginny Foster ...
Elaine Gallegos ...
Gordon Green ...
Gene Mauldin ...
Randy Niedzielski ...
Adelle Remz ...
Roger Sanger ...
Peter Scott ...
Dave Sheckler ...
Shirley Lang ...


In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize a terminally ill person's request to end his or her life with medication. At the time, only Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had legalized the practice. 'How to Die in Oregon' tell the stories of those most intimately involved with the practice today -- terminally ill Oregonians, their families, doctors, and friends -- as well as the passage of a similar law in Washington State. Written by Anonymous

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Not Rated


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Release Date:

January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cómo morir en Oregón  »

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Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.18 (2011) See more »


In My Time Of Dyin'
Traditional, arranged by Tom Brosseau/Unabridged/House of Hassle
Performed by Tom Brosseau with Angela Correa
Courtesy of Loveless Records
By Arrangement with Bank Robber Music
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User Reviews

Achieves Restoring and Comforting Warmth Despite Despairing Content
20 June 2014 | by See all my reviews

'How to Die in Oregon' is affecting often to the point of being distressing in its palpable sadness and sorrow. The magic of the film however, is in its ability to artlessly translate a restoring and comforting warmth in the face of such a despairing content. I was left feeling truly grateful to have had the privilege to have seen the film and learn about some of the wonderful people in it.

As a study, this documentary offers immediate proximity to people facing a part of life we must all face; death. And that is not an easy subject for most any of us to grasp or make sense of, no matter how much experience we have had with it. What would you do if you learned that you were incurably ill? Given a rapidly approaching deadline, a deadline you thought you wouldn't have to think about in such a manufactured light... not like this; not right now. How would you cope with being told that your body would soon vigorously, unapologetically and almost certainly painfully, deteriorate and part with... everything.

Now, what would you do if you were able to take back some control in the matter of your life. And if this were possible, what would it even mean?

This documentary addresses the option of physician-assisted suicide which is a matter quite different from euthanasia, (where a doctor is ultimately in control of the procedure) but it is certainly no less controversial. Physician-assisted suicide is a move towards giving terminally ill persons a choice; a choice they, and they alone, can legally make. An individual of sound mind, (who has appropriate witness signatures to report so), is allowed as much consideration and independence as possible in determining when and how they are to exit this world and their illness. It is the patient themselves who is to administer the substance which results in their death, and this is something revolutionary in the western world today.

Whether you agree or disagree with the medical, moral, or political advances in this film should not influence your decision to watch it. Rather, I strongly encourage you to add this to your watch list for two reasons: firstly, for its relatable and engaging accounts and the people you will get to meet, and secondly for its skill as a piece of film-making. If you are a lover of exceptional cinema, especially documentaries, you will not be disappointed.

Hopefully you will leave 'How to Die in Oregon' with an enhanced perception and tangibility of not only death and dying, but more importantly humanity, and what this means to each and everyone of us.

An easy 10/10 for me,


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