Say what you need to say (The Bucket List movie review)

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote one of the most touching (but not desperate!) farewell letters in the history of literature (what’s interesting – he did it when he was convinced of dying, not when he was actually saying goodbye to his earth life).  In this wonderful and terribly sad at the same time poem, the writer was thinking of things that he would have done if God had gave him a little bit more of life.  He wanted to use it to the best of his ability…

Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), the protagonists of ‘The Bucket List”, know that there’s no time to pray for. Instead of waiting for the inevitable, they do what Marquez promised to take care of – they sleep little and finally learn how to use their wings, how to fly. Rob Reiner’s movie is a story of both – fear of death and affirmation of life. This dualism reflects the bipolar nature of dying – our helplessness against it is scary and funny at the same time. The fun part comes from acceptance – the state of mind that is not easy to achieve, but seems to be the only answer that saves us from the senseless scuffle. ‘The Bucket List’ seems to be an existential lesson of optimism that is always more productive than nihilism. Its thesis is as banal as the difference between night and day – tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone; today can always be the last time to see our loved ones, because ‘another time’ can never arrive. Death is living in our insides, but Reiner shows the other way of seeing it. He doesn’t negate the necessity of dying, but he seems to be redefining the relation between existence and its end – in his movie life lives in death.

The story of two protagonists who make their dreams come true can irritate with its incredible enthusiasm, but we shouldn’t forget the old truth – grass is always greener, air is always fresher for those who are aware of its limits. Reiner doesn’t want to prove that overcoming the fear of death is possible – he just shows one of possible ways of dealing with it. His protagonists are taming death – just like other people who are about to die. Escape to the past, storytelling, leaping into the madness – life can protect itself in many ways. Maybe it’s hard to believe in likelihood of ‘The Bucket List”. But can we rationalize any kind of dying? Last but not least – Edward and Carter didn’t waste the opportunity to give to their life the last kisses.