Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Movies with Meaning: “The Bucket List”

Recently, I saw a good film, “The Bucket List” in the company of young adults. Two old codgers Edward (Jack Nicholson) and Carter (Morgan Freeman) end up in hospital because of a terminal illness. They share the same hospital room together and they become good friends. After making a “bucket list” (list of things to do before they ‘kick the bucket’), they set out together on a worldwide adventure, completing the items on the list—and adding more—as they go along.

There are many engaging twists and relevant messages in the film. At one point Edward arranges a prostitute for Carter, who refuses and in the process finds a renewed love for his wife. Edward also shares personal experiences from his own life: He’s been married three times, and has a daughter, from whom he’s estranged. Carter understands that Edward longs for his family, and arranges a meeting at his daughter’s home. Edward was furious, and responded by saying that he doesn’t need anybody. When Carter passes away, a letter he left moves Edward to reconcile with his daughter, giving him an opportunity to be with the cutest girl in the world—his granddaughter.

During one of their journeys, Carter asks Edward some questions about life. Have you found joy in your life?” “Has your life brought joy to others?” Edward says he envies people who have faith but he never could get his head around it. Faith doesn’t make sense to him. Does it make sense for you? In the end of their lives, they realise what is really important. Why do we never know what we have got until it’s gone? This film reminds us to cherish our lives at every moment and treasure our families and friends. I often wondered if I had six months to live, what would be my response?

I recall a line from the film: Upon death, God asks a question: “Were you ever happy?” The answer determines whether or not you’ll be allowed into heaven. This makes an important point: The purpose of life is happiness, even to the last moments. It doesn’t matter how much money you make; what matters is whether or not you’re happy in the process of making it. At the end of the day, the goal of making money should be to increase your own happiness, not accumulating wealth just for the sake of becoming wealthy.

Having watched the film a lively discussion ensued. It is a film that raised many questions for me. It is well worth watching especially for anyone discerning their future direction in life. We can also call the ‘bucket list’ a ‘list of dreams’. ‘Bucket list’ emphasizes passing away, while ‘list of dreams’ sounds more life-centered. We should make a list of dreams—at the very least this will give us goals to strive towards in our youth, giving us fuller and happier lives. So, what’s first on your list?

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