Breast cancer awareness month has come to an end, but still we should keep the families of those who are living with terminal diseases in our hearts all through the year. This list a little late because I wanted to rewatch all the films on the list to more accurately speak on them. So here is a list of things to watch to help keep those people in our hearts.
Breaking Bad - Lung Cancer / John Q - Congenital Heart Disease
I put John Q and Breaking Bad together because they both involve people turning to crime because medical bills are too heavy. I'm not sure if John Q's storyline is quite as relevant still because low income family's children are given Medicaid and I'm not completely sure what Medicaid doesn't cover for children. Still, no one should go bankrupt trying to keep their children healthy. This movie is especially close to my heart because I had an enlarged heart as a child. Thankfully it functioned normally but I could have just as easily been in the same situation as John's son Mike.
I admit that I still haven't finished Breaking Bad so I don't know how much they actually talk about Walter's lung cancer. Still circumstances tend to be weighed against those with illnesses; insurance companies don't care, jobs don't really seem to care and expensive treatments on a high school teacher's salary wasn't going to cut it. Walter started the whole thing to provide for his family once he was gone, and although we tend to have good intentions, things start to muddy and the lines begin to blur over time.
The Big C - Melanoma
This show was incredible to me. The Big C is about a woman who learns that she has skin cancer. Cathy Jamison decides to let go of her careful life and let loose, finally enjoying herself. Cathy opts not to tell her family and friends about her diagnosis in an attempt to enjoy life without people pitying her or trying to talk her into seeking treatment. She doesn't want to be burdened with unsuccessful treatments to prolong her life instead of getting to live it happily while she can. It leads her to discover new friends, reconnect with some people in her life and to open herself to more possibilities. It's an emotional thrill ride that will take you from cheering Cathy on, to hating her guts, to praying she receives a miracle.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Leukemia
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a boy named Greg and his friends Earl and Rachel. His mother forces him to visit Rachel after learning of her illness while Rachel, unappreciative of anyone's pity, refuses to see him. After some convincing they begin to hang out often and form a bond of silly films Greg and Earl make together. This movie is strangely entrancing. I'm not 100% sure if Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a great movie but it's an intriguing one to say the least.
It really teaches us not to wait too long to appreciate people and that we have to care for them while they're here. It also speaks a lot about people's ignorance of Cancer. Even the main character, Greg, is very uncomfortable around the whole idea at first and very unsure of how to act. The movie's criticisms seem to include how the film is emotionally shallow but I don't think it's supposed to be deep or profound, I think it's supposed to be a realistic story about teenagers and life. Some teenagers are deep and profound and others just are.
You're Not You - ALS
Although a lot of people talk about it, an almost equal amount of people have no idea what it is. I was one of those people who was thoroughly confused about what exactly ALS was and although it's easy to read about it, it's a whole other experience to witness the effects of it. You're Not You is about Kate (Hilary Swank) a pianist who is diagnosed with ALS. Soon after, she becomes completely bound to her wheelchair and requires an aide for most of her basic needs. When her husband Evan (Josh Duhamel) becomes unable to support her due to having missed too much work, she hires college student, musician, and all around slacker Bec (Emmy Rossum) as her attendant. The two eventually grow as friends while Bec grows as a person through her responsibilities as caretaker for Kate. Though You're Not You does tend to slip into the usual coming-of-age romance melodrama a lot through Bec's story, it's still a very interesting film that tears at the heartstrings.
Still Alice - Alzheimer's Disease
Dr. Alice Howland is a linguistics professor at the University of Columbia. Words are her life and her specialty so her world is thoroughly thrown off its axle when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and her mental capacity slowly begins to deteriorate. What do you do when words are who you are and suddenly you can't remember them; are you still you? Is Alice still Alice?
I think there's a long of misconceptions about Alzheimer's disease and I definitely am one of the people who didn't fully understand it. Alzheimer's disease always appeared to be something that happened to elderly people and just seemed like a natural consequence of aging; some people had it and some people didn't. I guess it's assumptions like this that make it seem like it's not quite as important as it is.
Other Great Films
- Philadelphia - AIDS
- Terms of Endearment - Breast Cancer
I didn't include these two in the main list, despite really enjoying them, because they're the obvious choices. Everyone knows about these or likes these films. I know that seems ironic since I included Breaking Bad, the epitome of intelligent writing for most people.
- What Makes A Family - Systemic Lupus
Great made-for-TV movie but it's more of a push for gay rights than about the woman with the disease; Something I support wholeheartedly of course but not the topic at hand.
- The Bucket List - Lung Cancer
- School of Life - Lung Cancer
There's a lot of movies about lung cancer. I didn't include these because I had subjectively better films already about lung cancer. They're both about enjoying life to the fullest while you're still here and cherishing the people in your life while you can.
The Fault in Our Stars - Thyroid Cancer and Osteosarcoma
I originally had this one in the list but I just couldn't find anything to write about it. It's a great film but I can't say it invokes a lot of inspiration in me.
- 50/50 - Malignant Tumor
I've heard it's a really great movie with fantastic reviews but I haven't had a chance to see it yet.
I wanted to include some things that we fun and uplifting as well, and not just sad or dramatic. You can't support anyone if you're sad all the time. I was sick almost all the time as a child, sleep apnea, enlarged heart, tubes in my ears, bad asthma and allergies, so I know that being sick really sucks. Still, what I went through is nothing compared to what people with these diseases have to endure; by what my mom went through I can't even imagine what the families involved must have to endure. This needs to be rectified, and we should all hope that some can be done about this and a cure can be found.