Feeling a little under the weather, Ben Tyler decides to get a workup from his doctor but finds that he actually has stage 4 cancer. Stuck by the terrifying news, Ben seeks to change what remains of his life and make up for lost time by purchasing a motorcycle (against the wishes of his fiancee) and take a road trip from Toronto to the western Canadian coast. Defying his nature, this adventure baffles his fiancee and family. To give his trip a sense of purpose, he travels back in his memory to his childhood when he was on the search for “Grumps,” mythical creatures which are nearly impossible to find. He comes across a variety of roadside attractions, talks to an assortment of people and continues to avoid facing his fate or the possibility of seeking medical treatment.
Starring: Joshua Jackson (Ben Tyler), Peter Spence (Doctor), Marc Strange (Art Carey), Liane Balaban (Samantha Pierce), Fiona Reid (Mary Tyler), Chuck Shamata (Gerald Tyler), Caroline Cave (Nancy Tyler)
The movie focuses very heavily on Joshua Jackson’s role as Ben Tyler. With a mostly stoic demeanor, it is not hard to imagine that Jackson’s character was always risk-averse and listened to his family and friends before making any decision. The movie starting with the news of cancer allows for the setup of a more timid nature and the quick turn toward seeking excitement and adventure. Samantha, played by Liane Balaban, acts exactly as you would expect with a great fear for her fiancee’s life while also not wanting to stifle his need to feel something in his struggles with death. His family, played by Fiona Reid, Chuck Shamata and Caroline Cave, takes a classic approach as well of pushing to protect their boy and not listen to his fear of the fragility of life.
Michael McGowan’s work of the finding light in the shadows serves as a reminder of the struggles of making meaning of one’s life and the significance of one piece of news can have on one’s perspective. No one takes to serious medical news lightly and Ben’s reaction is not uncommon. When faced with the possibility of death, one could feel compelled do all sorts of dangerous things in order to feel live. For Ben, he broke free of the restraint of expectations, bought the bike and set out to feel something. He actually seemed fairly emotionless when first struck with the news but sees opportunity in the turmoil. His travels bring him only some satisfaction as the landmarks represent some of the unneeded experiences to enhance his appreciation of life. His interactions fill the time but do not replace the relationships he has developed over time. It takes another incident to help him discover what is truly important. Much like the character of Ben, we all seek to try and understand the complexity and meaning of life.
One Week is a quiet tale of one man’s understanding of life, death and the meaning of it all. The beautiful landscapes help to increase the value of the cinematography but the story is fairly predictable and it feel like the type of film you need to be in the right frame of mind for.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5