This week, Facebook highlighted that we had watched The Fault in our Stars A Teen Romantic Drama about illness, in this instance, sufferers with cancer, a year ago! What was a coincidence was that this week’s film rental was Miss You Already, again a film about someone coming to terms with being diagnosed with cancer.
Films dealing with illness, terminal or not as well as mental illness have been around for some time, but they seem to be a new trend by going for the Young Adult audience. We have also had Now Is Good; Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and If I Stay.
With the exception of Miss You Already, all the films featured were based on novels, and we did not know until we researched for this blog, that they are known as the poorly titled Sick-Lit. Granted, they may be about people who are sick, but they do tend to be heart warming stories, that make us realise how precious life is and how we should be grateful for what we have.
A prime example of this would be JoJo Moyes novel, Me Before you, about how a young man decided to end his life after becoming paralysed. We are certainly looking forward to seeing the film version of this, which we have blogged about Previously:
Of course, the subject of illness, is not new to cinema and whilst these films may feature younger cast members, they can all offer an intense and uplifting movie experience even if the subject matter can make the film a hard watch.
Heavy dramas often do attract star names to them, examples including Stepmom starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon; Marvin’s Room starring Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio; My Life starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman; Sweet November starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron and The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson to name a few!
We have even seen the subject matter used in comedy dramas with Judd Apatow using Adam Sandler in Funny People. Also done with a lot of humour was 50/50 with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
We would also add Missing You Already to this list, however this was different from others, as showed that it is not all happy and romantic to the end, as we see Milly (Toni Collete) self-destruct, dealing with her cancer, endangering her lifetime friendship to her best friend, Jess (Drew Barrymore) and almost destroy her marriage to Kit (Dominic Cooper)
Of course, many illnesses have been portrayed on screen, bringing Oscar glory for their stars as well. Examples include Philadelphia dealing with Aids (Tom Hanks); Silver Linings Playbook dealt with Bipolar (Jennifer Lawrence); Rain Man covered Autism (Dustin Hoffman); My Left Foot covered Cerebral Palsy (Daniel Day-Lewis); As Good As It Gets was about an Obsessive Compulsive (Jack Nicholson); Leaving Las Vegas covered Alcoholism (Nicolas Cage) and most recently Alzheimer’s was covered by Still Alice with the Oscar going to Julianne Moore.
The films may even offer comfort to those who have lost someone, P.S. I Love You starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler saw the deceased help the one that has been left behind, find love again. A personal favourite of mine,
A personal favourite of mine, Return to me saw David Duchovny find love with the person who received a heart transplant from his wife. Heart transplants are also covered in Untamed Heart with Christian Slater.
Whatever happens, due to the fact that they do currently bring money to the box office or awards to the stars means their success will see the genre continue. The films may even help, I’m sure after seeing a tragic film about a cancer sufferer, you may be more inclined to donate to that charity and that can only be a good thing!
Do you think films should cover subjects like illness? Do you have a favourite film about an illness we have not mentioned? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad about Films
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