How would you handle the news that you only had a limited amount of time left to live and, if you decide to undergo aggressive treatment, only have a 10% chance of surviving?
Such is the somewhat heavy subject matter of a fantastic Canadian movie Carms and I saw last night called “One Week“. Starring Joshua Jackson of “Dawson’s Creek” fame, One Week goes something a little like this (from the Toronto International Film Festival website):
Joshua Jackson plays Ben Tyler, who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. At first Ben can’t believe his situation, but when the reality sinks in, he decides he needs to act radically. Although engaged to the beautiful – if slightly acerbic – Samantha (played by the delightful Liane Balaban of New Waterford Girl), Ben is overpowered by the need to capture some unknown yet vital experience before the darkness descends.
He needs to hit the road, and to do it alone. Setting his sights on a cross-Canada road trip, he indulges in one heck of an impulse buy – a vintage motorcycle – and sets out for the West.
Travelling from Toronto on the Trans-Canada Highway, Ben takes in some of the nation’s iconic landmarks. This typically means anything claiming to be the “world’s biggest.” It is a testament to the generosity of McGowan’s filmmaking that he can raise both a laugh and a tear when Ben visits roadside attractions like the world’s biggest goose in Wawa, Ontario.
He pushes on. As Samantha tries to reclaim her fiancé in a series of increasingly concerned calls from Toronto, Ben rides west, hitting the intoxicating open spaces of the Prairies and the shock of the Rocky Mountains as he aims for the Pacific Ocean. Along the way he has a hilarious encounter with a highway philosopher, played by Canadian rock icon Gord Downie, and strikes up a touching, tentative relationship with a young woman in Banff.
The cross-Canada road trip is a rite of passage for Canadians and a privilege that tourists fly across oceans to experience. Never has it been filmed so grandly, nor brought so beautifully into a story of inspiration.
I’m not confident this cracker of a film, written and directed by Michael McGowen, is going to be released on mass as I don’t think it’s linked to any of the major Hollywood distribution companies (probably a good thing). But it’s been successfully doing the film festival circuit of late, and a keen eye will hopefully find it playing at more-open minded cinemas over the coming months.
A definite must-see if you can find it!