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Review: The Bucket List

If you were able to know in advance, the exact moment when you would die, would you inquire further? The Bucket List, is the latest film to ask that question. For a film that boasts to have all the answers, it’s a hard case to crack when its own themes become overrun by a superficial story.

Then again, not all films are defined by their predictability and flashiness. Somewhere underneath the antics featured in The Bucket List, there’s a heart-warming message that is struggling to come out.

In the prolonged establishment of its characters, The Bucket List introduces Edward Cole and Carter Chambers as seemingly opposite characters. Both having been admitted to medical treatment for their terminal diseases, the two men feel stuck with the inevitability of their death hanging over their head. Remembering a college assignment, Carter (Morgan Freeman) begins writing down a list of all the things he wants to experience before he dies. With a family and people who love him to worry about, it seems pointless to him. To Edward (Jack Nicholson), a man with no family and a greedy personality, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. In their budding friendship, the men embark on a journey in which, through each other, they will inevitably discover what their lives have been missing.

With Freeman and Nicholson in the lead roles it seems impossible to go wrong. Aside from those two actors and their unflinching screen personas, there are moments where the film might seem very improbable. We understand the problems each man faces as much as we embrace their desired journey, but with campy scenes involving the procurement of tattoos and a playful vintage car race, it’s hard to momentarily take it seriously. Where the Bucket List strikes its notes is not in its scenes of comical awkwardness. It shines as a story about living life to the fullest, and weighing the importance of your own life in things that truly matter.

It’s not just upon the arrival of a person’s death that there is need for such an upheaval in a lifestyle. The film’s connection to our own lives, no matter how young or old, is where it all becomes important. Aside from the artificial moments and contrived scenes, The Bucket List is a success in how its message can be applied to every day life. Nevertheless, The Bucket List may still be that inspiring film if your heart is open enough to its manipulation.

Three stars out of four

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