DVD Review: Time Of My Life

STUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Nic Balthazar | CAST: Koen De Graeve, Geert Van Rampelberg, Lotte Pinoy, Michel van Dousselaere, Viviane de Muynck
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 3/19/2013 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
BONUSES: none
SPECS: NR | 120 min. | Foreign language drama | widescreen | stereo | Dutch with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

By the end of Belgian writer/director Nic Balthazar’s 2012 drama Time Of My Life, as Mario Verstraete, the Belgian euthanasia activist at the center of the story, listens to yet another maudlin farewell tribute. It’s then that I kept thinking of Huck Finn at his own funeral, longing for Mark Twain’s brilliant satiric edge.

Time of my Life movie sceneThe first hour or so of Time Of My Life is actually quite effective. It begins with a series of montages that establish the characters of Verstraete (Koen De Graeve), and his friends Thomas (Geert Van Rampelberg) and the woman they share, Lynn (Lotte Pinoy, no Jeanne Moreau, she).  The scenes also give the feeling of life galloping apace until his diagnosis of Multiple Scleroris and the intrusion of life’s harshest reality. Verstraete becomes involved in a political campaign to legalize doctor-assisted suicide, which puts him at odds with Thomas, himself a doctor. Despite devoted parents, an adoring son, and attentive friends, Verstraete opts for a date with Dr. Death.

The film’s visuals are artful and the performances are fine. Koen De Graeve is excellent at capturing the memory loss, stumbles and tremors of his disease, until the self-pity swallows him up. Geert Van Rampelberg brings the good looks and swagger of a Hugh Jackman to his role of the conflicted friend.

There’s a film of the great Russian dancer Plisetskaya as “The Dying Swan.” As she sinks into death, all her movements are upward, making them truly moving and beautiful. It’s a lesson Balthazar has yet to learn. Indeed, the most heartfelt moment in his film comes when a doctor rejects Verstraete, pointing to patients in worse shape than him, saying, “Those are my heroes. They concede a little more each day and still they embrace life.”

 

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.