âHere is life and all its messy complications! Cancer is a bitch, life is a journey and other horrible feelings are all aired for free in this well-meaning drama about a subject that deserves much more nuanced treatment: assisted dying. Anna (Pitch Perfect’s Anna Camp) is the prodigal daughter rejected by her father when she revealed her homosexuality, who returns to Oregon to find him dead and her brother Michael (Steven Strait) laughed at her long absence . But she came back for a reason: to end her life (euthanasia is legal in the state) because she has inoperable cancer.
Of course, Anna is an artist, which makes her death doubly tragic. Director Tim True clings to that kind of clichÃ©, while still letting the tone oscillate between hollow sentimentality and – with comedic neighbor Michael Gary (Joe Lo Truglio), who has Asperger’s syndrome, popping up as if in a Dignitas-sponsored episode of Cheers – cheap, heartbreak-compensating lightness. “It was disgusting shit,” Anna jokes when she finally lowers the lethal dose. Caught in what appears to be an endless montage of fireside philosophy and life-affirming dancefloor carpe diem, there is no dramatization of Anna’s decline or possible ambivalence about her decision. , and Michael’s resistance is dispatched with indecent speed.
Plus, Camp is just too cool to convince as a terminally ill. Perhaps the independent guitar soundtrack cradled True in such a state of melancholy acquiescence that he didn’t notice. The actor puts on a decent, shaky performance and is indeed distant on the home stretch. But the weird thing is, it’s the crudest role in the movie – tech savant Gary, flirting with Simple jack territory – which inadvertently introduces a certain unpredictability, and in one scene, a single touching note in an otherwise sinister and ersatz film.