Here Awhile

Though like many of you out there during these trying times, I have often turned to fluff entertainment/films to keep my mood up, sometimes a dose of reality is needed. By that I mean a complete picture of what it means to be a human being on this planet. That is comprised of love, laughter, family, tears, heartbreak, sadness, and a mutitude of other emotions/things. Tim True’s (first film) brings us a film which looks at what could be a sad issue through a lens which attempts to show light in times of darkness.

Returning home to Portland, Oregon, Anna (Anna Camp – Pitch Perfect, The Lovebirds) is looking to repair her relationship with her estranged brother, Michael (Steven Strait – from television’s The Expanse). This is not going to be easy because of many circumstances.

There are multiple layers to her desire to connect once again with her sibling. One, is that it has been 15 years and it is time. Past time. The other is that Anna has recently received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. She is dying and wants to do that on her own terms being able to do so in Oregon due to its unique death with dignity act. But before, she wants to spend time with Michael.

With her brother, his girlfriend Shonda (Chloe Mason – first film), quirky next door neighbour Gary (Joe Lo Truglio – from television’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and eventually, Anna’s partner, Luisa (Kristin Taylor – The Cry), they form a support group for the terminally ill young woman. Trying as best they can, though Michael certainly has trouble with it, to support her in her decision.

Right off the top I have to talk about Anna Camp. She is an actress who has been largely typecast as a prissy, uptight, well-to-do girl/woman. This type of character has made up the bulk of her career in film and television. Here she steps out of her or casting directors’ comfort zones and portrays a very different type of character. And she is wonderful. Totally inhabiting Anna (interesting that her own name was used for the character), she shows us that as an actress Camp should no longer be pigeon-holed. She is obviously more than capable of playing other types. Though she is great at bringing to life rich bitches….

Something I thought of while watching the film and the lead character’s decision to terminate her life, is that I wonder if those who are against the right to end life on your own terms would still feel that way (not that I wish this on anyone) if they found themselves in the situation Anna does? We see that she has tried all treatment options including experimental ones. Still the outcome is inevitable. We see and hear her suffering. To what end? Why do some of us feel more comfortable allowing humans to suffer? Why are we more humane to animals? Food for thought.

Though this is essentially about the end of someone’s life, there is hope here. It is not all tears and heartbreak (though there is some of that as well). In the film there is plenty of the joy of life, relationships of all types and the idea of maximizing the time we all have on this planet.

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