One Week
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Ben Tyler (Joshua Jackson) has been diagnosed with cancer. With a grim chance of survival in the best case scenario even if he immediately begins treatment, he instead decides to take a motorcycle trip from Toronto through the Canadian prairies to British Columbia.

September 08, 2008

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One Week

Reviewed by mutuel

At The Movies

One Week (PG) * * *

Last Leg

Make the most out of life. Whoever coined that phrase sure got it right. What to do when your times about up provides the gist for the emotion behind One Week, an insightful tale from Mongrel Media now opening eyes at Tinseltown (on Pender, free parking). Canada takes centre stage in this triumphant 94 minute journey that looks into the troubled life of a young man at a crossroads.

Sharp witted teacher Ben seems to have it all, including a loving girlfriend, Nancy Tyler, who he’s about to marry. Smart people get annual checkups and when news of some tests comes up bad Ben becomes a suddenly confused man. How to cope with medical turmoil takes centre stage in his life as he must decide whether to go through with the marriage or try something different.

Let’s hope most of us never have to make such life-defining choices. For Ben he makes the pivotal decision to strike out on his own. Other movies from major Hollywood studios have tackled this dilemma differently, with Queen Latifah’s Last Holiday of a few years back coming to mind. There is no right answer to how to depict those final moments when you’re told you only have so long to live.

Down and out Ben decides to cut loose and embarks on a cross Canada tour. Whether you’re a Canadian or someone unfamiliar with the country north of the 49th parallel you’ll be impressed with Ben’s drive to see what many of us take for granted. Across the landscape we go, descending on countless provincial icons as Ben moves west. During this trip, however, there’s the ongoing difficulties with the loved ones he’s left back home. Who knows if its right to leave out your friends and family but this is a decision we all must make given the chance.

Vancouver born Joshua Jackson (Bobby) rides tall in the saddle in this story of self discovery. Cast as his wife to be Nancy is Caroline Cave whose portrayal is not your standard fare and it gives added oomph to an already drama-packed story confronting larger than life subject matter we all hold so dearly. Through the narration of Campbell Scott (Roger Dodger) we learn all about Ben’s past which makes the ride to the coast all the more poignant.

Writer and director Michael McGowan (Saint Ralph) succeeds in pulling off a heartfelt tale of how one can deal to health issues and the ability to take on the challenge to make the most of your life. Beautiful shots of the Canadian landscape should lead to a boom in local travel as many of us likely have never seen some of these magnificent places that lie right in our own back yards. Full of spirit and hope One Week turns out to be a winning treatment bound to ail all but your most serious conditions.

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