Movie Review - A Little Bit of Heaven - from 2011

 How did I miss this one!?

It’s hard for me to watch movies about death. Maybe it’s my discomfort with the whole inevitability, my mid-life phase, and chronic illness twisting my emotions into denial. Our family lost a young father this summer, and the weight of sadness hasn’t lifted much for his young widow and their kiddos.

But, I’m gonna say, I like how this movie addresses the subject of death, and how it affects a young person.

Most critics hated this movie for the same reasons I loved it. You cannot put emotions into a box and expect every single person to react the same way in serious situations. There is no gold standard for receiving news of a terminal illness.

That’s why I appreciated the message this movie gives to the audience through to the end.

I cried like a big old baby for probably 30 of this productions’ 107 minutes. Almost half.

I don’t cry like I used to, but, this movie brought those emotions out into the sunlight, revealing my vulnerabilities and fears.

Yes, she’s a feisty, free-spirit…but many twenty/thirty somethings are. Kate Hudson’s character, Marley Corbett, is successful, fun-loving, and barricading her heart from love. Who hasn’t let childhood influences control their emotional response as an adult?

Until she finds out her time on earth is limited, and finally reveals to her just how important love is. Marley finally makes love a verb, and it’s touching, raw, and reminded me of feelings I’ve had in my audacious past. When life is reduced to sands in the hourglass…(no soap opera pun intended). Some folks rush to fulfill what others have a lifetime to achieve.

So, yes, attitudes and behavior change rapidly, it’s logical, not just scripted. Some people move to acceptance, and choose to finish their days in joy, rather than gloom.

The supporting cast includes names I’ve long enjoyed in other films. Kathy Bates embraces her role as Marley’s mother, and reminded me in some ways of my relationship with my own mom. In the end, we have more love than we can express.

Gael García Bernal is softly convincing as the man she comes to love, who loves her in return. They know it will end more quickly than it began, but, it makes it more meaningful somehow.

I’ve loved Rosemarie DeWitt since her incredible work on United States of Tara.  Lucy Punch is the quirky bestie, Romany Malco provides best neighbor support, and Peter Dinklage emerges as an unexpected catalyst.

This film is going in my stack of favorites. Although it was wrenching enough to me I cannot watch it often. I will watch it when I need reminding that it’s time to really live.

Thank you Nicole Kassell for directing such heart driven cinema.

I’m giving this one **** 4 snowflakes.





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