Film & DVD Review: The Bucket List

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp

Director and Producer of The Bucket List, Rob Reiner, has been busy for the past two decades. Some of his well known films are This is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride and well known for the classics, When Harry Met Sally, Misery and the legendary A Few Good Men.

Reiner is every Screenwriter’s dream, he has a talent for sounding out a great script, like a magnet. He definitely worked his magic with The Bucket List.

Justin Zackman, Screenwriter, provides an excellent script that is compassionate, real, careful, considerate, empathetic, but not sympathetic. I thoroughly enjoyed this film for that very reason, The directing of their vision combined is splendid.

The Bucket List may be seen to be a film that could be depressing, or sad, and tearful, but this is so untrue. Just because two older men are going to die and live their life to the full in the last year of their lives, doesn’t make it so. This film has the opposite effect, it is like therapy.

Anyone who has emotional trauma due to illness or perhaps lost a loved one through illness ought to go and see it. You will find joy in this film. It is touching and gives depth to what life is all about. There is a deeper meaning that comes to life in this film, there is great depth that focuses on family values and makes one think of such idealism. This film makes one think, about how life is so real, and should be enjoyed to the full. It could also make one think a lot about their loved ones, and how it is such a blessing, and a joy, to have people to care about and be cared for in return. More importantly, it makes one think of what we would like to do before we die. Even deeper than that, it brings to light that money can’t buy love, but can bring about joy instead.

In The Bucket List, it did just that, joy to two older men, who were ready to kick the bucket. Money in this film is just that, nothing more, nothing less. The reality is that too much money brought misery at times to one of its main characters, Edward Cole, (Jack Nicholson).

He was a high-flying billionaire businessman, with no time for anyone, but himself; arrogant, impatient and stubborn. His money didn’t bring him any joy; only heartache, floating about from relationship to relationship, even cutting off ties with his daughter, over family fallout.

Zackham, changed the plot when Edward met Carter Chambers, (Morgan Freeman). Edward’s life began to change for the better.. Zackham’s exploration with two main characters, both having different personalities paid off.

Carter Chambers is a proud man, a family man; the opposite of Edward Cole. Carter, is a breadwinner, duty bound into hard graft, providing for his family. He’s a family man who was also a faithful and loyal husband to his adoring wife. When Carter met Edward his life also changed for the better in some ways, as he had worked hard in the same job for decades, he was tired, bored and trodden down. He needed a challenge. Carter, had depth, Edward had none!

Throughout this film as their friendship develops, you see Edward getting insight from Carter, taking some of his depth with him to the grave. It seemed like Carter was Edward’s teacher, at times, Edward seemed lost, like a headless chicken, with no insight into family values or how to find joy in life. His only joy was making millions, now it was his joy to share it with his new-found friend.

Zackman and Reiner have done a wonderful job, portraying Carter and Edward. In normal circumstances these two characters would never have met. Neither of them would have had anything in common. They met in unfortunate circumstances, as both were ill and forced into sharing same hospital room. I highly recommend this film. It is great to see two older men, both terminally ill, with less than a year to live, becoming close friends, both challenged, and together venturing to places all over the world, to places they had always wanted to go and never quite got there. Their tears and pain seem adrift, and afar, as you see lots of joy and laughing, as they explore and delight in crossing off each adventure from their very own version of The Bucket List.

If one takes anything from this film, it would be a thought that one perhaps should live life to the full and have great joy, being around the people one loves and care about, as life is too short.


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