out of Five
Running time: 97
A moving New Zealand drama with top-notch acting, some enchanting locations and at its heart a rollercoaster story posing the question what would you do if you were told you were going to die?
What's it all about?
Michael (Matt Whelan) is your typical kiwi bloke, he likes drinking, going out and hooking up with girls. His easy-going existence is brought to a screeching halt when his doctor informs him he has terminal cancer and only a few months to live.
While his community raises $200,000 for his treatment the prospect of months of painful hospital visits is too depressing an idea and Michael steals the money and takes a one-way flight to London to live large before he goes. Michael’s carefree trip is derails when he falls in love with a stunning French woman, Sylvie (Roxane Mesquida).
A great little Kiwi flick, this movie takes flight early on in a globe-trotting story rare for a local film. Matt Whelan is superb as Michael, balancing emotions of frustration, helplessness and optimism finely. The film's entire story could almost be read on his face. It’s a truely touching performance. Roxane Mesuida plays the love interest and is absolutely stunning, bringing a European sophistication to the film. Director Kirstin Marcon creates to stunning shots, making best use of the magical locations the film visits.
You might think a film about a terminal cancer patient would be depressing but it’s not. The subject matter is handled carefully in a non-judgemental way. Some of the things Michael does in the film are reprehensible but at the same time you understand his motivations. A clever New Zealand soundtrack put together by Grayson Gilmour creates the perfect support for the performances on screen. An on-screen appearance by The Naked and Famous is also noteworthy.
Despite the definite chemistry between Whelan and Mesquida we are supposed to believe that the two characters fell in love in a matter of days and that Michael’s European romance is everything his life has come to. I don’t buy it.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying isn’t nearly as depressing as the title suggests, but it’s quite an eye-opening experience and one which will leave you thinking more about what you’d do in the same situation. Highly recommended.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying (R16)