A moving melodrama with a great cast.
A beautiful beachside home in the Hamptons is the almost play-like stage setting for this Hollywood remake of the 2014 Danish film “Silent Heart”.
Lily (Susan Sarandon) is an upper middle class woman in her late sixties who has ALS, a disease which there is no cure and no effective treatment. The disease weakens muscles until swallowing and breathing are no longer possible. She struggles to get out of bed in the morning, has lost the use of left arm and has to lift her legs with her right hand to put her shoes on – but she is determined to be independent and keep control her life.
Her devoted husband Paul (Sam Neill) happens to be a doctor. He has helped her plan the end of her life. A suicide with a deadly cocktail, while she is still able to drink unassisted. He plans to say that he will be out walking when it happens, and hopefully avoid being charged by the police.
With the acquiescence of their family a final gathering has been planned – a last weekend with daughters, straight talking Jennifer (Kate Winslet) and Anna (Mia Wasikowska) their partners husband pontificating Michael (Rainn Wilson) and non-binary girlfriend Chris (Bex Taylor-Klaus) grandson Jonathan (Anson Boon) and Lily’s life-long friend Liz (Lindsay Duncan).
Lily has planned a weekend which will leave loving memories including an early Christmas dinner that the family can prepare together and where she can give meaningful presents. But like many family gatherings things do not go as smoothly as planned. In spite of everyone trying to keep their spirits high there are many unresolved issues to be dealt with – confessions, accusations and tension between the daughters.
Directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), and screenplays for both films written by Christian Torpe the film combines heartbreak and humour. It doesn’t debate the morals or ethics of assisted suicide – and has a great cast of actors.
But you may need a box of tissues for the inevitable conclusion.
Showing at Luna Leederville, Windsor Nedlands and Luna SX Fremantle.
Watch the trailer…