A Little Bit of Heaven

Directed by Nicole Kassell

> > Nov 12 2012

A Little Bit of Heaven - Directed by Nicole Kassell
By Robert BellIndirectly, A Little Bit of Heaven (Nicole Kassell's surprisingly generic follow-up to her creepy, calculated debut, The Woodsman) is a shining testament to the limitations of human consciousness and the boundless simplicity of the ego. It's not intentionally so, being more of a heavy-handed tearjerker on the surface, taking the Grey's Anatomy approach to emotional manipulation by afflicting its vivacious and effervescent protagonist with stage-four colon cancer. But the intensely solipsistic execution of the material, wherein the entire world seems to revolve specifically around the mortally ill Marley (Kate Hudson), is unintentionally profound, mirroring the base human anxiety of annihilation with the core human flaw of limited consciousness. Moreover, the central conceit, which involves Marley visiting God (Whoopi Goldberg) and being granted three wishes during a colonoscopy, suggests fatalistic overtones, implying design and individual significance or, in other terms, a sating and deluding of the ego. While the narrative vacillates between levity and solemnity, bouncing from girl talk sessions about boob size and pregnancy with interchangeable gal pals (Lucy Punch, Rosemarie DeWitt) to atonal reminders of impending mortality (DeWitt has a hard time engaging in the shopping montage, reminding us that death is looming), Marley goes on an internal journey of self-realization. Since her friends and doting mother (Kathy Bates) exist only to facilitate comic idiosyncrasy or sounding board actualization for Marley, her arc revolves around that of traditionalist companionship, flirting with her contrarily humourless doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal). Although, since he too exists within the vacuum of Marley's consciousness, discussing only her in scenes when she isn't present, his identity is tailored specifically to heighten her journey, making this struggle with trust more one of mental masturbation. Resultantly, the big lesson of the film and, in turn, coping with mortality isn't expanding one's mind, it's merely appreciating how to interpret everything around you as a reflection of your ego and importance. It's a hilariously disgusting message that inadvertently works as a shining beacon for everything wrong with the human experience, which is quite an impressive feat for such an insipid, throwaway romantic comedy. The DVD includes some interviews with the cast and crew that don't touch upon anything resembling self-awareness. It's all very rehearsed and optimistic, much like the B.S. status quo that allows nonsense like this to pass as normal and acceptable.
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