In this belated sequel to 'The Decline of the American Empire', 50-something Montreal college professor, Remy, learns that he is dying of liver cancer. He decides to make amends meet to his friends and family before he dies. He first tries to made peace with his ex-wife Louise, who asks their estranged son Sebastian, a successful businessman living in London, to come home. Sebastian makes the impossible happen, using his contacts and disrupting the entire Canadian system in every way possible to help his father fight his terminal illness to the bitter end, while he also tries to reunite his former friends, Pierre, Alain, Dominique, Diane, and Claude to see their old friend before he passes on. Written by
Key Themes are Not 'Anti-capitalism, Anti-Americanism'
There seems to be a lot of passion over the claim that the film is anti-American, anti-capitalist, etc. Many criticisms seem to dismiss the humanistic elements in this film - pain, death, reconciliation - because it has a vague intellectual, leftist, socialist face. My experiences in Canada tend to suggest that the Canadians have plenty of targets down south that deserve criticism. But does it matter? Whether the film included all these elements, the key theme was the preparation for death and reconciliation between those who will not see each other again.
Doesn't anybody cry over loss? Are we scared of those things after death? or do we fear the process of dying - the loss of the person, their presence? A person died in this film - right before us - 100 minutes of decline -and what a sigh of relief that there was reconciliation in the end! That there was time to speak, time to be present. Consider the contrast between the daughter on the yacht - stranded, distant - and the son near his father. The great pain that welled up in me to see that there was no opportunity for her left.
I don't cry in films, but I did here. I feared dying more than ever - other people's deaths, and mine - and I resolved to prepare for it.
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