Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2

Henry Lee Hopper, Mia Wasikowska, Ryo Kase. Written by Jason Lew. Directed by Gus Van Sant.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Annabel Cotton (MIA WASIKOWSKA) is a beautiful and charming terminal cancer patient with a deep felt love of life and the natural world. Enoch Brae (HENRY HOPPER) is a young man who has dropped out of the business of living, after an accident claimed the life of his parents. When these two outsiders chance to meet at a funeral, they find an unexpected common ground in their unique experiences of the world. For Enoch, it includes his best friend Hiroshi (RYŌ KASE) who happens to be the ghost of a Kamikaze fighter pilot. For Annabel, it involves an admiration of Charles Darwin and an interest in how other creatures live. Upon learning of Annabel's imminent early passing, Enoch offers to help her face her last days with an irreverent abandon, tempting fate, tradition and even death itself.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The teen death-obsessed boy and girl keep meeting at funerals of people they donít know. Hmmm, kind of reminds me of the quirky leads from Harold and Maude. Indeed, this comedy/drama has much in common with that Ď70s dark-humored cult classic. The characters in both films rebel against death via their dark narcissism, attempting to fill their emptiness with self-satisfaction, often ignoring the needs of others.

Well acted, the story is absorbing, but ultimately I found the film more depressing than insightful. The plot purports the existence of ghosts, but does little to suggest the presence of angels (there is a difference) or Godís ultimate plan for the soul of mankind. So often films dealing with a main character facing the end of life, though searching for another existence, seldom do so through Christ. They want the answer to be almost anywhere else, even at the questionable conclusions of Charles Darwin. Considering how many Christian funerals and memorial services they attend, youíd think at some point these two would at least consider Godís greatest sacrifice.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Around seven obscenities Ė the s-word Ė and a few minor expletives.
Profanity: One use of Godís name followed by a curse. It comes toward the end of the film, just when I was beginning to hope that a filmmaker was going to tell his story without showing irreverence toward God.
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: It is implied that the couple sleeps together one time.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Up

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