Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Bucket List

Morgan Freeman plus Jack Nicholson would equal a winner in almost any circumstance, but particularly so as they teamed up for The Bucket List. The movie's premise was a grabber from the outset: two 70-something guys who both have a cancer diagnosis and a one-year prognosis. Rather than become experimental guinea pigs in the cancer ward, they set out to accomplish a shared to-do list before they "kick the bucket." The pair are very dissimilar: Freeman sustained by faith and family, Nicholson defined by work and cynicism. As they share the common shock and pain of their imminent demise, they are drawn to each other despite their vast differences, and the friendship deepens as they jet set around the globe to sky dive, race cars, climb mountains, and see everything from the Great Wall of China to the Taj Mahal.

A turning point comes when Freeman asks Nicholson the question supposedly asked in Tibetan tradition as persons seek entrance to the next world: Have you known joy? And have you brought joy to others? Nicholson tries to brush off the questions and their implication, but finally reveals that he has a daughter from whom he has been estranged for years. A rift occurs in the budding friendship at this juncture, but a healing occurs later when Freeman has a relapse and Nicholson visits him in the hospital. A dying request by Freeman opens the way for Nicholson's healing, and the friends' ultimate togetherness in death. (Not wanting to give away the ending!)

For me The Bucket List was a very moving and insightful glimpse into the nature of true friendship, the need to live life more fully in the now, and the way meaning can still result from seemingly meaningless circumstances. I'd give this one five popcorn bags on a five scale.

1 comment:

Jay said...

Added to my Netflix queue. Thanks!