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Battle Scars

I'm very eclectic when it comes to movies. I like dramas, comedies, and thrillers. If you checked my Netflix queue, you would frequently find foreign films, independent films, and documentaries rounding out my list. I even love a good slasher flick every now and then. It all depends on my mood. 

Sometimes you know what you're getting into with a movie. Roger and I went to see The Blair Witch Project right before going camping in the middle of a Virginia State Park. Not one of our smarter moves. If I ever need a good cry, I just pop in Sophie's Choice or ET. If I need to laugh, I put in anything by Mel Brooks or Monty Python

These days, I tread lightly when it comes to films that revolve around death or illness. It can be a slippery slope. There can be a certain amount of catharsis in watching these films and I think that's healthy. At the same time, it can open up old wounds. You have to be ready to cry. The other danger with these types of movies is that they can make you angry. Inaccurate (read: overdramatized) portrayals of the grief process, death, or suffering can be as grating as fingernails on a chalkboard.  

It is with these thoughts that Roger and I went to see 50/50 last night.  I had heard about this movie in the "coming attractions" for a few months and it looked intriguing. Something told me it wasn't going to be an overly schmaltzy, emotionally manipulative disease of the week movie.   Listening to Seth Rogen and Will Reiser discuss the film on Fresh Air finally convinced me that this film might be one of the few cancer flicks that interested me.  I wouldn't go without Roger, though.  Fortunately, we both had a free evening so it was time for a date night.

Will Reiser's fictionalized version of his journey with cancer was not our story but I found it completely familiar.  There was the stark reality in the shock you feel when you hear that word in the doctor's office: cancer.  There was the challenge encountered in maintaining relationships with your friends and family; they are trying to help you cope and yet they are just as terrified as you are. How do you navigate those stormy waters? There are the moments when you find humor in the darkest of things...things only fellow cancer patients (or their caregivers) can understand.  There are the moments when you lose it. You completely lose it. You don't know how you're ever going to feel normal again.  Happiness is far, far away.  

While I enjoyed the movie, I think I'm developing a new appreciation for why some military veterans refuse to watch war movies.  When you've been to the battlefield, you have to be ready for something that takes you so close to the source again.  When Adam was being wheeled into surgery, all I could think of was Charlotte. All I could remember was the feeling of absolute terror as I watched her tiny body being prepped for brain surgery. In those final moments before the anesthesia kicks in, Adam faces the reality of his mortality. He panics, realizing that this could be "it".  Those feelings are real and, let me tell you, the film captured that perfectly. 

I'm glad that there are films like 50/50 out there. It's nice to see films that put a realistic but positive spin on something that many people (fortunately) may never completely experience or understand. This household gives it two thumbs up. 

PS Yes, I rearranged the blog a bit. One step closer to the new website. Stay tuned!

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