8. FACING REALITY
“STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie”
I was apprehensive about seeing Davis Guggenheim’s documentary “STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” because frankly I was wondering whether it would be painful taking me back to the challenges we faced with my late husband Roger’s illness. Fortunately, I am happy to report that it was a revelation to see someone who at one time was the number celebrity in Hollywood have such transparency and honesty about his own struggles with illness.
Traci Fox, Michael’s wife of over thirty years, whom he met when he was filming his popular television show “Family Ties,” is still very much in the picture. My heart melted when I saw the calm and stability she brought to his life in their domestic scenes together. One of the beautiful things the film does is show Michael as a family man with his children, who clearly love him and whom he clearly loves. There is no pity or sentimentality. Just a family facing reality and making the best of each day. Thank you for this beautiful documentary.
9. FACING THE BEYOND
When I was a young girl, I pondered what happened after we died. I also gave some thought to things such as the meaning of life and why we are here. Stephen Gray and Chris Radtke’s new documentary, “After Death,” purports to answer some of those questions, and in a surprisingly convincing way, says that death is not the end of life. It is merely a transition. It presents doctors and others in the medical or research fields who show cases of people who are either clinically dead, or in a medically induced coma, who nonetheless can describe what happens after they died. In some cases they say they rise above their bodies and can view the operating rooms. They even recount conversations that took place while they were either sedated, or declared clinically dead.
The filmmakers wisely tells about near death experiences (NDE’s) in an even-handed way, including using interview footage of Dr. Raymond Moody, the doctor widely credited with coining the term NDE’s. They also show how widely shared these experiences are around the world, and not related to a specific religion, or race, or gender. Rather, they explore consciousness through a semi-scientific lens, and provide enough credible sounding people who say they have experienced what happens when your consciousness travels to the other side, while your body remains here.
10. COMING OF AGE
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
Judy Blume’s 1970 novel about a young girl’s transition into womanhood has finally been adapted into a wonderful film from writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig that explores not only the coming of age journey experienced by its titular heroine (Abby Ryder Fortson) but by her mother (Rachel McAdams) and grandmother (Kathy Bates) as well. Sweet and perceptive.
Watch the trailers for these films here.