Apart from knowing this movie was taken from a book, I knew nothing about it when I pressed the “start” button on the DVD, so I was in for a pleasant surprise. The story is told by a fourteen year old girl who has been murdered – don’t worry this isn’t a spoiler, as the viewer is told this piece of information within the first minute of the movie starting. What followed is different and unusual, and quite captivating. By the time the movie had finished, I had wished I’d read the book instead as they are always so much better and if the movie was good, then I could only imagine how great the book would be. Maybe I’ll get the opportunity to find out in the future.
Anyway, back to the movie. The thing I found captivating was how life and death ran parallel with each other, neither side fully aware of the other, both sides suffering from grief and confusion. (I guess the concept spoke to me because of my own situation.) Mingled with this were the murder details and investigation. For a while, I thought the girl would help solve her murder, but that wasn’t the case. The movie shows the family moving through their grief and the girl refusing to “cross over”. It’s a movie of strong love which spans the unknown…and that is what drew me in and held me the most.
Yet…being a mother of someone who took his own life, I believe this movie can also be dangerous. If my son had seen the movie before his death, I know that it would have fed his belief that life after death is better. It would have given him even more courage to do what he did. And, I believe, that is a bad thing. Yes, I know it’s just a movie, but sometimes concepts feed our needs. Sometimes we are consumed by our needs so much that we can’t see what is plainly set before us – in this case, just a movie. It will be wonderful to discover, at the right time, that death is all rainbows, flowers and chocolate cake, but what if dead is really dead or what if it’s something worse?! If we knew that, would we be willing to give up life? I think we need to be cautious about what is put into people’s minds, especially those easily influenced.
Having said that, to me it was just a movie…and a good one at that.