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Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Sutherland’

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Chronic features Tim Roth as palliative care nurse David, who looks after terminally ill or severely disabled persons in their own home, having one patient at a time. It follows him through looking after three patients and it is clear that he cares very deeply about his work, and also about the people he nurses. The power here is not always in what is said, but in the silences and in the mundane and sometimes unpleasant tasks that he carries out, without complaint. Make no mistake, this film does not flinch from showing the realities of people nearing the end of life, or unable to look after themselves. In one scene for example, a patient soils herself due to medication, and David is showing carefully soaping her and cleaning her mess up afterwards. In another scene, he is washing a man who is unable to do it for himself; the patient is in the shower room, naked and entirely vulnerable. Indeed, so intimate and private are these moments that I almost felt voyeuristic, as though I was intruding on someone’s life, when I had no right to.

For the always wonderful (in my biased opinion!) Roth, this is possibly a career best performance. Despite his dedication to his vocation, David is not always entirely likeable. He lies easily to strangers – he untruthfully refers to one of his patients as his wife for example – and seemingly has no friends, apart from his patients while he was looking after them. His own history is drip fed to the viewer, which does make his behaviour more understandable.

For some people, this film will be hard to watch. I could feel the pain and helplessness of the characters, their lack of dignity, and the sense of futility for their families, which manifested itself in different ways. One niece asks David about her aunt, underscoring the fact that she didn’t get to know her aunt well when she was alive, and she is aware that David knew her better than her own family.

It’s a stunning film, with an ending that took my breath away. I’m giving no spoilers here because I believe it deserves to be viewed completely unspoiled, which is how I saw it. I liked the ending; other reviewers didn’t. Overall though, this film will stay with me for a long time, and I would highly recommend it.

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