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Belgium, 2012, 118 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Biographical, Comedy, Drama, Medical/Health, Social Issues
Program: Contemporary World CinemaLanguage: Dutch English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Nic Balthazar
Producer: Peter BouckaertEditor: Philippe RavoetScreenwriter: Nic BalthazarCinematographer: Danny ElsenPrincipal Cast: Koen De Graeve, Geert Van Rampelberg, Lotte Pinoy, Michel van Dousselaere, Viviane de Muynck
An unusually deft combination of the humorous and the deeply moving, Time of My Life looks at the issue of euthanasia in the lives of a group of friends in their 30s, when one of them becomes cripplingly ill.
Based on the true story of Belgian politician Mario Verstraete, the film follows his vigorous campaign to legalize medical intervention to end the lives of people whose suffering has become unbearable. The law would let those with diseases or other serious medical conditions decide for themselves when to end their own lives, allowing them to do so in a humane way, surrounded by loved ones, and with the support of health-care professionals.
Mario’s campaign to permit “death with dignity” takes on new meaning when he is diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of multiple sclerosis. The story is told through the eyes of his doctor friend, Thomas, who wrestles with the very idea of using his skills to do harm, which as a physician he has sworn not to do. He also has promised Mario’s parents to help him recover. But as it becomes clear that’s no longer possible, Thomas’s will and his rigid beliefs are worn down. He comes to see the joy that his friend takes in the exuberant love of his son, and his savoring of a tentative rapprochement with an old lover. Finally, family and friends gather to say their goodbyes in a profoundly touching scene where death only heightens the beauty of life.
- VAL MOSES
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