Hilary Swank plays a pianist with a slight tremor in her hand that quickly turns out to be ALS, which will kill her brutally and swiftly.
Watching a movie like this unlocks a lot of emotions for me, and I should really know better than to attempt it. I’m a wayyyy-too-sensitive person who feels all the feelings because I can relate to almost anything personally. This makes me a very good therapist and a very vulnerable movie watcher. Even a bad movie, which this is, can hold quite a punch for someone who lives with a chronic disease, which I do. While my brain is telling me that I’m nothing like Hilary Swank, my heart is in total panic mode.
The ALS attacks Kate viciously – about a year and a half from the first twitch, she can’t walk unaided, and she can’t use her hands. Her husband (Josh Duhamel) feeds her, bathes her, and puts her to bed at night. She has become his patient rather than his wife. She fires her day time caregiver because she too tries to treat her like a patient while Kate is still struggling to hold on to the last of her dignity, still trying to deny the severity of her illness. So when Bec (Emmy Rossum) breezes in, unqualified and inattentive, it seems like the perfect pairing. Kate won’t get babied, and Bec won’t get evicted. And she arrives just in time to help Kate uncover her husband’s infidelity. Kate seems to absorb it as almost deserved at first, but Bec is a show of strength (if nothing else) and gives her the courage to throw her husband out, even after everything he’s done for her.
Two things: Although I generally felt this movie was too schmaltzy for my taste, I did think this was an interesting question that people seem to react very differently to. Since Kate is so dependent on her husband now, and by all accounts he’s been very attentive to her medical needs, is his cheating maybe a little more acceptable? Especially since he and Kate haven’t been intimate? Should she have looked the other way? Accepted that their marriage is just different now?
Second thing; Like many, I first came across Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. She seemed pure and ethereal and untouchable, so it’s funny that the only other thing I really know her from is Shameless, where she plays white trash so, so convincingly. Bec is a lot like Fiona, brash and foul-mouthed but selfless when push comes to shove.
The disease is overshadowed and the director’s intentions tend toward the kleenex box, unabashedly. I knew this movie wasn’t even taking itself seriously when Josh Duhamel was cast so I didn’t have much in the way of expectations and it didn’t do much to try to exceed them.