The Bucket List

Death is life’s one and only indisputable and irrefutable truth. Every human being is aware of the fact that one day, sooner or later; it’s going to be curtains for them. Despite this, how many of us actually believe that we’re going to die? Given a choice, how many of us would want to know the exact date of our death? More importantly, if we knew we had very few days left on this planet, how would we spend them? Would we deal with it by wallowing in self pity and by blaming god or would we try to make the most of the time left? Would we be doing exactly what we’re doing or would we finally take a chance and do something we always wanted to?

These are some of the questions which the movie ‘The Bucket List’ attempts to tackle through the lives of Carter Chambers and Edward Cole.

Released in 2007, this movie brings together two of the most brilliant actors of our time – Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Carter Chambers, played by Morgan Freeman and Edward Cole, played by Jack Nicholson, are two people whose worlds couldn’t have been more apart. Edward Cole is a philandering millionaire who has no family except for an estranged daughter and Carter is a databank-of-knowledge mechanic who has a very large and loving family. Edward Cole makes a mockery out of every situation, questions the existence of god, has a rabid sense of humour and tries to make life difficult for everyone around him starting with his assistant and doctors, to his business associates. Edward Cole, on the other hand, has a more philosophical approach towards life, more patience and respect for those around him. But the one thing which is common to them and which binds them more tightly than any other bond is that they are both terminally ill cancer patients who have less than a year of their life left.

Carter, when confronted with the inevitability of death, starts to make a list of things he always wanted to do in his life; but couldn’t. He added things like ‘Witness something majestic’, ‘Laugh until you cry’, ‘Drive a Shelby Mustang’ to his list. Edward, on reading the list, finds it extremely boring and monotonous and decides to spice it up. So, he adds adventure to it by including points like ‘Kiss the most beautiful woman on the planet’, ‘Skydiving’ and ‘get a tattoo’ to the list. Hence they ready their Bucket List – The things they want to do before they finally kick the bucket and leave for heavenly abode. What ensues is an inspiring experience and a beautiful friendship.

Edward tries to convince Carter to go globetrotting with him and Carter after much deliberation leaves his wife Virginia and his family to go live his dream. They go skydiving, visit the Taj Mahal in India, ride a motorbike on the Great wall of China, sit atop the pyramids in Egypt, go on an African Safari and more! In those few weeks, they share a lifetime together and confront each other’s deepest fears and darkest secrets. Carter admits that he has long forgotten what it was like to love his wife, whereas Edward confesses the reasons for why his only child has vowed never to speak to him again. They look after each other like a mother to a child, crack jokes like best friends of life and help each other through the toughest time either has ever faced. Eventually they both realise, with each other’s help, what they truly hold important is their family and head back. Carter heads back to his family, to spend the rest of his days with and even Edward eventually reconciles with his daughter only to have his joy doubled by being introduced to a grand-daughter he never knew existed. The only thing from their list, which they missed out on doing, was going up the Himalayas to ‘witness something majestic’, which they manage to do eventually, after death, with Thomas’[Edward’s assistant] help. This is the last scene in the movie and one which truly touches your heart.

The movie is liberating in various ways. It isn’t too dark and depressing and has a good dose of humour which basically comes in the form of Edward making his assistant Thomas’s [Sean Hayes] life as difficult as possible by not addressing him by his actual name, making him errands for both himself and Carter and basically threatening to not leave him anything in his will. Both Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman have done complete justice to their roles. The only thing which rankled me is that a majority of the movie showed both of them in their hospital beds. It doesn’t emphasise on their journey in a very significant way.

The movie pushes you to think and forces you to put your thoughts in perspective and your priorities in order. It makes you realise that time is short and if you don’t concentrate on what you truly love and want to do, then life might never give you another chance.

So, What’s on your Bucket List?

Gursheel Parmar

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