Force of Destiny – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

August 10, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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Billed as “a journey of love on a transplant waiting list”, this latest offering from veteran writer/director Paul Cox is not as grim as it sounds.

It is indeed a love story, intensified and complicated by the knowledge that one half of a relationship might die before receiving a life-saving liver transplant.

Robert (David Wenham) is a renowned and talented sculptor. Living alone, he is separated from his wife, Hannah (Jacqueline McKenzie). About the same time he is diagnosed with cancer of the liver he meets Maya (Shahana Goswami) an Indian marine biologist and is surprised to find himself falling madly in love with the younger woman.

It seems quite natural that Robert takes it personally when he receives his diagnosis.  After an agonising wait to find out if he is a suitable transplant candidate, Robert is aghast that someone has to die so that he might live.

While he contemplates his likely demise he is shaken by the intensity of his emotions.   For much of the time he is a rather a grumpy fellow – quite understandable under the circumstances  – but I still wondered what the charming and accepting Maya finds so attractive about him.

Wenham is convincing as a man suspended in time while Goswami is warm and delightful.  However it is in his relationship with  daughter Poppy (Hannah  Fredericksen) that the sculptor is at his most real and lovable.

The scenes with Maya’s uncle as he faces his own death brings a touch of mysticism and acceptance of fate but the constant repetition of misty shots of birds flying through trees becomes tedious even if it is a metaphor for how Robert is feeling.

Cox has never taken the easy road with any of his films and he has based this story on his own experience of falling in love, living with cancer and eventually receiving a life-saving liver transplant.  My companion at the screening, a cancer survivor, found it more compelling that I did.

However it did make me think about the importance of organ donation and what a brave step it must be for families to agree to donate the organs of a loved one.

MA15+  Strong surgical scene/s    2015

109 mins

Limited release nationally August-November with Q&A sessions

Starring David Wenham, Shahana Goswami, Jacqueline McKenzie

Directed and written by Paul Cox



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