Take tissues to cancer rom-drama

2012-01-16 00:00

A LITTLE Bit of Heaven, starring Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days), tells the story of free- spirited Marley who is diagnosed with cancer and then falls in love with her doctor.

The context of the film, originally billed as a romantic comedy, needs to be clarified. A Little Bit of Heaven is a heartbreaking and yet charming tale of love and loss. While there are some wonderfully comic moments in the film, “comedy” is far down the list when it comes to describing it. With Whoopi Goldberg playing God, and some intelligent one liners, you will laugh a little, but you’re going to cry a lot — bring some tissues.

Hudson has a vivacious quality, an exuberance that rises to counter her character’s serious illness. She infuses joy into the film. Gael Garcia Bernal plays the doctor. Casting a less familiar actor means the film revolves around Hudson’s character, Marley’s life and Marley’s choices, more than their relationship.

Set in New Orleans, with vibrant colours and jazz music, the film takes on a rather tranquil cadence. It’s almost as if the visuals mimic Marley’s emotions, with everything seeming richer at the prospect of it being taken away.

The film has a great sense of community; Marley is surrounded by friends who each take a different path of grief in response to her illness. The result is a wonderful juxtaposition of impending death and heightened moments of living.

While A Little Bit of Heaven focuses on death, it is a focus that reaffirms life, reaffirms love, reaffirms beauty. ****

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