FFF 2015 Day 7 The Farewell Party


Matthew Assured Us This Film Was Hilarious?

Before the FFF began, I asked Programming Director Matthew Curtis to give me two movies that would make me laugh. His first recommendation was The Farewell Party about euthanasia in a Jewish nursing home.

I didn’t think he heard me correctly, so I repeated, “films that will make me laugh!”

“You will laugh, it’s hilarious,” he replied, chuckling.

Yes, this movie had moments that were quite funny and many that were poignant. But, in the end, it’s a drama…a powerful and well made drama.

Mrs. LanceAround listens to my viewpoint and becomes adamant. “I thought it was touching and loving and funny,” she counters. “It was wonderfully funny. It was not ponderous. But that’s how you make it sound.”

“It had moments that were funny,” I reply, “But in the end I was most moved by the depth of the subject matter.”

“I was touched by the humor, tenderness and genuine love.” She retorts.

In the end, we agree to disagree about which elements of the film were most striking. But we did agree this is a very important movie. In America, our culture has a very difficult time talking about and coming to terms with end of life issues. The more we see films like this and have the conversation, the more mature we become.

The film does take a rather lighthearted approach to the subject matter. It begins with a man helping one of the nursing residents to take her medication by phoning her with an amplification device that makes her believe she is talking to God. She complains that no one in the nursing home believes God calls her! There are also scenes of closeted (literally) homosexuals, an older lady with memory issues who forgets to wear clothing and a group of her friends who make her feel better by throwing her a surprise party where they “forget” as well!

But underneath all the levity is a serious issue. Is it morally responsible to assist someone in taking their own life to end their pain and suffering? Are we obligated to just sit by and watch as the ones we love writhe in pain? The film does not give any easy answers, but it also does not shy away from the tough questions.

Very well filmed, well scripted and topical, this film is a great addition to the 2015 Florida Film Festival!

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