Published Jun 14, 2012In the world of cinematic metaphors, the use of the road movie as mortal apologue borders on redundant, second only to the use of mirrors as forced introspection inference. It's the sort of twee framing device meant to inspire passion – an open road with infinite possibilities – despite being little more than a protracted idiom, reflecting traditional narrative tropes without challenging, or even raising an eyebrow at, the status quo.
In such, Foreverland (Max McGuire's unintentional remake of the overly quaint Joshua Jackson melodrama, One Week) moves the tired Canadian formula south of the border, taking the mortally ill Will Rankin (Max Thieriot) on a road trip to Mexico to spread the ashes of his friend, Bobby (Thomas Dekker), who was similarly afflicted with cystic fibrosis.
With him for the harmless but predictable ride is Bobby's sister – an overly saintly cystic fibrosis groupie seemingly working out some unresolved, potentially incestuous emotional imbalances – Hannah (Laurence Leboeuf), whose knowing, eerily motherly disposition guides Will, eventually offering up a coital diversion.
On its own, playing as a stylistically uninspiring cable film of sorts, this tale of a young man learning to truly live in the face of mortality has some heart. The trials and tribulations encountered – bigotry, religious persecution, shattered illusions and generalized hardships – are indicative of life's journey, ostensibly representing the time Will wasted dwelling on death and avoiding life experiences. It's just that each and every one of these worldly struggles, both metaphorically and literally, are astoundingly uninspired, recycled from every other movie that has already travelled the same road.
Even the dialogue borders on laughable, never expanding upon annihilation anxiety beyond clichés and broad assertions of fear and confusion. It's as though no one involved has ever contemplated these notions beyond the superficial, which is reinforced by the overly cautious, pseudo-preachy way that cystic fibrosis is handled. We can appreciate the lengths to which they try to depict the disease plausibly, as Will wheezes and beats his torso to ward off atrophy, but there's something overly sanctimonious and diffident about any related discussion.
While inoffensive, there's just nothing about Foreverland that justifies a feature narrative. On the plus side, Juliette Lewis pops up for about two minutes, portraying a religious zealot with her usual complex, off-centre aplomb. If only the movie had focused on her instead of the boring young lovers finding themselves it might have left a lasting impression. (eOne)