An intimate look at a newlywed couple's quarter-life crisis through stage four cancer.
Written By: James Kicklighter
Directed By: James Kicklighter
When people get together and talk, the conversation always manages to steer towards unhappy moments in a persons life, then easily seems to shift over to the happier ones. You mention someone who has cancer and may get a moment of silence, before someone laughs and tells a silly story about that person, from a happier time. Perhaps that's our minds way of dealing with the inevitable, no matter the cause. Or maybe it's simply because we don't know what to say. The big "C" word scares the hell out of us and when people get scared... they shift to happier thoughts. At least they try to. A remarkable achievement of "A Few Things About Cancer", which is stuffed with some great achievements, is it's ability to tell a story we've all heard, yet keep it fresh and emotionally connected. Let's be honest: Stories about cancer, or disease in general are nothing new or emotionally different. We all know what Cancer is and what it does. Unless it's you, personally invaded by this disease, it's become so normal that it is, in fact boring. Movies dealing with this subject matter have themselves also become mostly boring, or at the very least expected. A lesser, run-of-the-mill Cancer documentary simply doesn't stack up anymore. We need feeling, we need heart and soul and a spattering of personality. Director James Kicklighter delivers all the above and more, as we step into the life of Caleb and his dealings with, you guessed it... Cancer.
Technical notes are pretty brief since this is a Documentary. Everything you'd expect to find is here. Interviews, life shots and some graphics. I should mention however, that the graphics are nicely done and really add some production value to the flick. Audio is clear for the most part and the movie has a slick pro edit pushing the narrative along. As I wrote above, everything you think should be here... is here. No complaints and nicely done.
This is a good movie. No doubt about that. "A Few Things About Cancer" makes up for with heart what it may lack in other aspects, such as originality. The real question is how can you make make a movie such as this, and still be original? Can it be done? I think not. The end result all comes down to the personality and feeling you cram into the film. In this case, the down-home vibe and personal nature make this an entertaining experience. I should also add that yes, I cringe when I realize I just wrote about someones hardship being entertaining. Maybe it's better to look at this as a film "that's not" about cancer, rather a person's battle with the dreaded disease. This isn't a film that tries to "boo-hoo' you into submission, rather simply tell a story that's important to everyone involved. If we, the viewers happen to take something away from it, that just becomes the icing on the cake. On a personal note I'd like to add how much I appreciated the updates during the credit sequence. Something a lot of films of this style seem to miss. It's a good thing when a story like this ends on some positive notes. Sends off a vibe of hope to the rest of us shlups who are scared to death.
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