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Darren Lynn Bousman
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In this dark comedy, an idealistic young man volunteers at a crisis counseling center staffed by a group of con artists, low lifes, and misfits and discovers that before he can save the world, he may have to save himself.
"Hold Me" is as serene as the chosen topic itself. No calamities or hectic situations. It's a fragile picture of the choices people make to end their life voluntarily. A procedure that requires medical care and psychological support. A support Hannah (Hannah Fierman) provides by being present during the last minutes of a dying person. And preferably dressed up the way that person wishes. One last memory. A last craving. An intimate and happy farewell. One last hug and embrace.
Not only does the film focus on the emotional aspect Hannah is facing, but also the legal aspect. Worldwide there are still many countries where euthanasia isn't legal, so these procedures take place illegally. This is also the case with Hannah. The result is that she has trouble in processing the grief. She has no outlet for her feelings and she can't tell her personal story to anybody. Not even to her mother. When she's being confronted with a legal fact, the illegal and anonymous nature of it could get her in trouble. In legal terms, that is. Hence, the resulting confrontation with Vincent (Robert Krakovski).
"Hold Me" isn't exactly the type of movie you'd choose to enjoy a pleasant evening in front of your TV. It's a pretty sad topic. Nobody likes to be confronted with the loss of a loved one and subsequently saying goodbye in a serene way. Also, palliative departments aren't exactly the most happy places to reside in a hospital. Melancholia is omnipresent in this film. The soundtrack contributes to that as well. A superb fitting sound which reminded me of certain songs performed by Marilyn Manson where the same depressing piano tones are being used. Personally I thought the music was a wonderful addition. Normally I don't pay much attention to the accompanying music in a film. The fact it did struck me here, says enough.
Naturally Hannah and her mother (Laura Kenny) represent the most central characters in this production. At first glance I thought Hannah Fierman was the actress who played in "Starry Eyes" the part of the resolute Sarah. Maybe that's why I expected a sinister turn somewhere (Well, that's what happens when you never read the summary of a film in advance). But frankly I found her acting performance magnificent at times. The transformation shown in a mirror where a loving, mischievous smile replaces her sad expression, was beautiful to see. Laura Kenny's acting performance was wonderful as well. A worried mother who's only concerned about being a burden to her daughter, even when she suffers from a serious illness.
The only downside I could find was the predictability. Early in the film you can feel which way the story is heading. And some of the performances weren't that spectacular. Some were rather stiff and forced. Despite these minor flaws, I thought "Hold me" was a fascinating film anyway. No doubt it will lead to extensive discussions about whether or not to perform euthanasia. Personally, I'm in favor to make it legally permissible. As long as the person concerned has taken a carefully considered decision about the matter. As individuals we didn't have much to say about our birth. Before you knew it, you were walking on the face of this planet. Nobody asked you if you felt like doing that. So why wouldn't you let an individual make a decision to step out of life with dignity and say goodbye to relatives in a human way? Yet again, this is just a personal, humble opinion about the matter.
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