2015, Spain/Argentina, 108 min.
Most films about terminal illness focus on the high dramatics, the withering hero finding clarity on a deathbed or lingering in a somberly lit nursing home. Here’s a special film that espouses living a full life with an unforgettable, potent dignity, and that features none of those hoary trappings. Tomás (Javier Cámara) travels from Canada to visit his old friend, Julián (Ricardo Darín), a veteran actor living in Madrid. The unannounced trip comes with a gravity both men try to downplay: Julian is dying from cancer and has stopped treatment. The two friends spend four days hanging out, a good portion of which involve finding a new home for Julian’s beloved dog, Truman. The movie’s lack of to-do is its strongest asset, as we see Julian’s last push to make his life whole, whether it’s connecting with his estranged son or admonishing an old colleague for not saying “Hello” to avoid discomfort. Throughout, Truman serves as not only a symbol for resolution but a token of love between the two men. This is a wonderful, inspirational movie, which won the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar and a slew of other international awards. It will resonate with all who have considered their mortality. In Spanish with English subtitles.