Film: One Week

Life is too short. Live each day like its your last. Always live life to the fullest. We are constantly surrounded by saying and quotes either reminding us or telling us that a single moment can change the rest of your life.

One week is a 2008 TIFF film (theatrical release in 2009) directed by Michael McGowan and stars Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban and Campbell Scott who narrates the film. Rather than a plot heavy film, in my opinion this was almost a love story to Canada. Here let me explain that a little bit. Joshua Jackson plays  Ben Tyler, an elementary school English teacher from Toronto, Ontario. The film opens with Ben receiving the news that he has stage 4 cancer with a diagnosis of less than 2 years to live. Understandably Ben doesn’t take the news all too well, and with what some would call signs from above, he tells his fiance Samantha (Liane Balaban) that he is going on a 2 day vacation before he ‘becomes a patient.’ Samantha, completely against the idea of postponing his treatment, refuses to go with him. The 2 days turn into much longer and so begins Ben’s motorcycle journey across the country.

The cinematography in this film is absolutely beautiful, demonstrating the beauty within the Canadian landscape. However with quirky nuances snuck in such as the ever so popular Roll up the Rim, this is truly a Canadian salute. I loved the way this film was set, I’m not always the biggest fan of films with narration but it really worked well here and I like how the narration aspect actually found a way to relate back to the story. Rather than having a narration just for the sake of a narration. The opening scene is just so strong and really set the tone for the rest of the movie. Cancer isn’t at all a light hearted subject matter, however the film truly carries a certain spirit. I didn’t walk away from the film feeling an overwhelming sense of purpose, neither did the film leave me toiling with my thoughts. The true star of the film was the landscapes and the scenery. I was literally awestruck when Ben had found his way to Banff (ironically I was headed in the same direction!).

I have actually been wanting to watch this film ever since it was first released, however for some reason I put it on the back-burner and as those things usually go, out of sight out of mind. Would I watch this film again? Honestly I’m not so sure, the scenes were beautiful but I didn’t feel like there was all that much plot development. Nonetheless, as a Canadian and a lover of travel I have to recommend this film. If nothing else than just for a rainy day, at 94 minutes, this isn’t a film that you’ll feel restless throughout. Here again is one of my favourite bits in the film, a final quote courtesy of Ben

When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long… What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill?

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