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The Bucket List


Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Bucket List

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow

The Bucket List is a film about individual experiences, dreams and desires, which Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) undertake after both being told they have less than a year to live. Carter, who narrates the film, writes his “bucket list” (a list of things you want to be before you “kick the bucket”) and, in a rare moment of philanthropy from Nicholson’s character, is told that he should complete the list, with all expenses paid by Edward. The two set off on their task, and both discover what they really wish they could have before they pass on. For Carter, he wishes to truly love his wife again, which he shortly realises he does, and returns to his family. Unfortunately his new found life is cut short by the ever looming cancer as soon as it has begun. Edward goes on to complete the list, and finally finds his estranged daughter, as Carter had wished him to.

In a film about individuals, one could hardly ask for a better, more experienced pair than these two actors to fill their character roles. They are as incredible as ever in this film individually, and the combination is as expected – truly incredible. The ideas expressed are very poignant; raising the question of what would you want to do if you were told how long you had left. More importantly, would you go on to do it?

There has been some criticism of the film for not being serious enough, but I think it takes a great skill to put humour in to a subject of such magnitude and melancholy. The lines are not crass or uncaring, but rather exactly how I, and how I imagine many people, would want to be as the end draws near. Rather than weighed down by what is going to happen, it sets Carter and Edward free to do as they wish, and pursue their dreams uninhibited.

In short, The Bucket List gives the viewer a profound feeling of understanding with the main characters, and just like them can move from great sadness, from their position in life and what they are going through, to laughter, in the blink of an eye; the true mark of a brilliant film.

Joseph Tait

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)