Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saying Goodbye - The Descendants

The young woman lays dying suffering severe brain trauma from a boating accident. Her husband and two daughters are devastated each in a very different way. Friends try to help and also need to say goodbye. The advance directive is clear and there is no conflict that her wishes need to be carried out. A date for removal of the ventilator is set, and all come to say goodbye is their own way. Grief is mixed with anger, blame, love, confusion, and a need to control.

This story doesn't sound like Hollywood, yet this end-of-life story was surprisingly released in this pre-Christmas season. George Clooney's leading role in The Descendants plus the film's gorgeous setting in Hawaii should help draw folks to the box office even though some critics find the story depressing - a mixture of humor and sadness.

The thing that strikes me about this very well done movie is that it's really not about the end of a life. It's about how we grieve and become more real as we finally face emotions as they surface, as we assimilate new facts and as we deal with old unresolved conflicts. Can we be angry at the dying person or each other? You bet. Can teens act at their worst? Of course. Can we make more ethical decisions about how to live our lives? Maybe.

So if you want to laugh, cry, grieve, and have hope for our humanness, go see The Decendants!

1 comment:

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