Movie Mom

Movie Mom


A Will for the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:Alcohol
Violence/Scariness:Very sad death, themes of death and dying
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
YouTube Preview Image

“Without this,” Clark Wang says, “dying from lymphoma feels so empty and meaningless and pointless.”  Dr. Wang was diagnosed in 2003, and we meet him as he is running out of options for treatment.  His doctor tells him it is a matter of months.  His choice for making his death meaningful is to seek out a “green” burial.  He persuades a local cemetery to preserve a tract of forest instead of cutting it down to extend the lawn area.  He finds someone who can make a coffin coffin for him out of reclaimed wood.  We see him try it on for size, joking that “I’m going to be here for a while.”  He approves.  “It’s the exact style that I want to go out in.”  And, in a moment of both celebration and defiance, he dances on its cover.

“A Will for the Woods” is a documentary about the small but urgent movement for eco-burial.  But its focus on Dr. Wang, a psychiatrist and musician, makes it a profound statement about death and therefore about life.  While some people in the film speak in euphemisms and indirection, and even Wang himself uses terms like “burial is a very likely outcome,” the way that he and his partner Jane confront what is happening to maintain a sense of dignity, honesty, and control is both moving and inspiring.  It is not surprising that this film has won audience awards at four film festivals so far.

“It’s comforting to know I’ll be in such a beautiful place,” Wang says.  He speaks of learning to “befriend death,” to make sure that his last act is not an act of pollution.  Jane tells him what she will do after he dies, how she will wash his body and spend time with it, caring for him in a way he can no longer care for himself.

This is a touching film and a very important one. It is about dying with dignity, but it is also about living with grace. Just as Dr. Wang approached his own death with purpose and honor, the filmmakers have done the same in telling his story and making it ours as well.

 



Previous Posts

Annie
The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corpora

posted 5:59:13pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Fans of the first two "Night at the Museum" films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibi

posted 5:23:46pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Listen to People's Lives: David Plotz's Working Podcast
Former Slate editor David Plotz, now at Atlas Obscura, says that he is a big fan of Studs Terkel's classic book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He has paid tribute to that great work in the best possible way, by updating it with his podcast seri

posted 3:59:23pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Little Orphan Annie: From Comic Strip to Radio, Broadway, Television, and Two Movies
The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray.  Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience cau

posted 8:00:48am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

A Trailer for A Movie You'll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna
"Moonquake Lake" has a lot of star power behind it -- "LEGO Movie" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks....intriguing, some sort of "Twilight"-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn't real. "Moonquake Lake" is a movie with

posted 3:54:43pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.