Greetings again from the darkness. When it comes to death, everyone hopes to go out on their own terms. Perhaps that’s at an advanced age surrounded by family. Or maybe it’s before the loss of physical or mental capacities. And then there are those who just want to pass quietly while sleeping. Whatever terms one might envision, the odds are we will have little say in when, where, or how. Co-directors Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon previously collaborated on THE FAREWELL PARTY (2014), and here they are working on Rona Tamir’s adaptation of the stage play by Anat Gov.
Andie MacDowell stars as Julia Roth, a once famous actress who is attempting to receive medical treatment while remaining incognito. Arriving for her first chemotherapy session, she admits to not having told friends, family, or even her loyal assistant Nancy (Tamsen Grieg). The three women currently receiving chemo all recognize Julia, but it becomes clear that no one being treated for cancer cares much about spotting a celebrity. It’s interesting to watch as Julia is brought down a notch or two from her arrogance as she realizes two things: these folks aren’t impressed, and her own cancer is much more advanced than she originally thought.
This little chemo support group provides the heart of the film. Screen veteran Miriam Margolyes plays Judy, a retired teacher and lifelong single. Sally Phillips plays Mikey, a former rocker and the most optimistic of the group. Rakhee Thakrar plays Imaan, a young Muslim mother hoping to be cured so she can watch her kids grow up. They are all being treated by Tom Cullen, who they’ve nicknamed, “Dr Handsome”. Julia’s motivation is the upcoming wedding of her daughter, and the mood shifts quickly when Nancy shows up to “take care of this” for her boss.
There are times in life when we must be open to the help and guidance of others. Julia is a bit slow on the uptake, but soon enough, figures out that listening to those who have been going through what she’s about to go through provides the insight she needs to make up her own mind … finding a way of doing things on her own terms. Given the subject matter, the film from Granit and Maymon offers a good dose of humor, and it’s also effective in reminding us that taking a “vision trip” can be the holiday that leads to clarity and making decisions that work best for ourselves.
Opens in theaters on February 24, 2023