Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
Where did cancer come from? Answer
How did bad things come about? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
|Featuring:||Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Rowena King, MaShae Alderman, Verda Bridges, Lauren Cohn, Ian Anthony Dale, Jennifer Defrancisco, Alfonso Freeman, Angela Gardner, Hugh B. Holub, Andrea Johnson, Jordan Lund, Frank Maharajh, Jonathan Mangum, Karen Maruyama, Richard McGonagle, Nikki Novak, Serena Reeder, Ramon Roullard, Christopher Stapleton, Taylor Ann Thompson, Roy Vongtama|
|Producer:||Frank Capra III, Alan Greisman, Travis Knox, Neil Meron, Rob Reiner, Jeffrey Stott, Justin Zackham, Craig Zadan|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“The Bucket List” is a story of two terminally-ill cancer patients who form a nearly immediate and intimate friendship. For as many reasons as one could imagine, if it weren’t for the timing of their illnesses or their being placed in the same hospital room, these two would not likely have “clicked” as friends in everyday life.
Carter Cole (Morgan Freeman) is the first of these two friends that we meet. He is married, with grown children and works an honest job as a car mechanic. He is a history buff, seeming to know everything about nearly everything.
As the beginning of the film progresses, we meet Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) in all of his glory. Edward is the owner of several hospitals which he and his legal team deem successful. His story begins with him at a hearing, in an attempt to procure another hospital. Arrogantly, he announces to its board that they need them, but he certainly doesn’t need them. Responding, they point out that his hospitals are reputed to be grossly understaffed and managed cheaply. He makes it clear that he stands by his standards. It is in this scene where Edward first learns he is sick. Once he realizes what it is like to be stuck in a tiny hospital room with a complete stranger able to see him at his worst, he has the opportunity to glimpse first hand what standard of care is like. While he eats gourmet food, brought to him by his ever faithful assistant Thomas (Sean Hayes) and has a doctor faithfully treating and communicating to him. Meanwhile, Edward watches his new friend Carter be neglected by a very short-handed staff.
In a way that any difficult experience can tie two people together, life seems to form a deep bond between these two very different men. Together they create a “Bucket List” of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket.”
While it isn’t the worst out there, the language in this film is pretty offensive at times. Among this is the frequent use of GD.
Edward cannot conceive that Carter has only ever been with his wife sexually. He believes that Carter should add “another woman” to their list. He seems unable to let the issue rest, until near the end.
Edward himself has hardly been monogamous. With a string of ex-wives, and repeated talk of women and sex, it is implied on two different occasions that he has sex. A lot of skin is shown in both scenes, but no actual nudity.
During one part of the initial conversation, where Edward is attempting to talk Carter into sleeping with another woman, he talks of an orgy—claiming it’s the obvious conclusion, and not actually cheating.
On Faith: As one could imagine, the topic of God comes up frequently, as these two friends travel the world. Though Carter never says he is a Christian, there are plenty of times that he does talk about faith. He never quite says what his faith is in, other than God. Perhaps one of my favorite conversations between the two is when the mention of faith first arises. Edward listens to Carter awhile and then finally confesses to him, “I guess I could never wrap my head around it.” Carter looks at him earnestly and chuckles, “Well, maybe your head is the problem.” Later on, in the same conversation, Carter asks Edward if he is sure about his belief in nothing. Edward confirms that he is. Carter then asks him, “What if you are wrong?” To which Edward throws his hands up gleefully and says, “Then I win!” Carter only shakes his head and says, “It doesn’t work that way.”
Carter’s family is seen praying on several occasions. Banding together, and peaceful.
There is a scene in the film where Edward speaks of how Carter has saved his life. Though he never says it in a spiritual context, we see through parts of the film that Edward does soften and change. There are several comparative instances when Carter is portrayed as a very fulfilled and loved man, while Edward begins to see how very empty his life truly is. I am not at all implying that this is a Christian-focused film, but there is much weight to the context of this movie which does point to God being the difference.
Overall, “The Bucket List” is a truly beautiful film. It isn’t perfect, there are offensive moments. Despite them, this is a movie with a message about life. A message about living intentionally and with purpose. It has been a very long time, if ever, that I have witnessed an audience so moved by a mainstream movie.
Violence: None / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.