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CF Film/TV Review – Alex: The Life of a Child

Alex: The Life of a Child

Book Cover

Book Cover

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090602/
Unrated, 100 min.
Directed by: Robert Markowitz
Released: April 23, 1986

”When a child has cystic fibrosis, she doesn’t simply live, she has to be kept alive.”

Alex: The Life of a Child is A book based on a true story written by Frank Deford in 1983 which was later made into a Television movie in 1986.  I will be reviewing the Film not the book.

The film is based on the true events of  Alexandra Miller Deford, who was born Oct. 30, 1971, and died Jan. 19, 1980.

The Story follows the life of Sports illustrated writer Frank Deford and his wife Carole who have a happy all American family, which has its foundations rocked when their new born baby daughter Alex is Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in a time when Cystic Fibrosis suffers were not expected to live past early childhood..

The film picks up when Alex has already past away and Frank and his wife Carol are struggling to cope with their loss, all whilst their family unit is continuing to crumble.

We are told the Story of Alex through a series of Flashbacks as Frank writes his book. Frank Initially describes himself as the luckiest man alive who had everything….a Great wife, a son, a great job writing for Sports illustrated which was topped off by the Birth of their new baby Daughter Alex.

Alex playing with her toys

Alex playing with her toys

However this false sense of reality doesn’t last for long when Alex is diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and doctors explain Alex might only survive a few days, and at best if she does survive long enough to be taken home, she will be in for a constant and arduous battle to stay alive. .
During the Flash Backs Frank admits hoping for the worse to happen sooner rather than later ”because if we get to know her and she dies, how are we going to Survive it?”
However the family unit while stretched to breaking points with the constant hospital admissions and rigorous treatments that Alex must undergo pools around each and as the years pass the family discovers that Alex is an amazingly smart and gifted child her has an imaginations one could only dream of.

Franks and Carol soon realise that the rewards quickly outweigh the formidable demands, however this attachment will make the inevitable loss that much harder for the family.

Original Book Cover

Original Book Cover

My View:

I haven’t read the book, but have seen the film numerous times. Unfortunately it has never been released to my knowledge on DVD and my old VHS version is feeling the test of time….However unlike the VHS this film does stand the test time of time and has evolved to take on a whole new meaning…Its horrifically superb and brutal all in one…The grain of a made for TV movie from the 80’s brings a real rawness and true to life look at Cystic fibrosis which at the time the producers wouldn’t of known about but looking at it 20 years on the harshness really hits you…The film is so heart breaking…..It really hits you hard how we today think dying at 25 is harsh but back in the 70‘s….a CF‘er at 25 did not exist and if you made it to 10 you had out done yourself…..it’s a film you have to see….It will depress you…But it has its inspiring moments…I can name films that have made me ball like a baby on one hand and this is one of them….not just for certain scenes but for the story….the story is this film. The film also stays very true to the book from what I have read in other reviews mainly to the fact that Alex’s father Frank was a producer on the film.

Before CF got to Alex

Before CF got to Alex

I’m going to refrain from a giving this film a rating as it’s beyond that and giving a true story a rating just wouldn’t be right…..But I will say this, get your hands on this film and watch it when you have the time and sit uninterrupted….I wouldn’t advise this film for anyone under the age of 15 who has CF as its Brutal. Maybe parents should pre-watch this film as its not a Hollywood Film where you walk away feeling happy….you will though walk away with a changed outlook on life no matter what your connection to Cystic Fibrosis is.….

Alex: Life of a Child on IMDB

Frank Deford Speaks on youtube

Amazon

PeGsOn
Pegson1986@hotmail.co
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Please leave your review, thoughts of this film

September 13, 2009 Posted by | All Posts, Film/TV Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CF Film/TV Review – LastBreath (1997)

CF Film/TV Review – LastBreath (1997)

Lastbreath DVD Cover

Lastbreath DVD Cover

I recently re-watched the Film Last breath (1997) or sometimes known as life  breath..

The film is a TV Movie and revolves a married couple. A school teacher Martin (Luke Perry) and Chrystie (Francie Swift) who is dying from Cystic Fibrosis and is in desperate need of a lung transplant, However her blood type is extremely rare.

So Chrystie’s husband, Martin begins a frantic search to find a donor with the same rare blood type as his dying Wife, He eventually becomes so desperate He devises a plan, where he starts having an affair with a real-estate agent (Gia Carides) whom he plans to murder because she’s a blood type match with his dying Wife and has signed her donor card. The film progresses as Martin’s love for his wife is twisted to the point where he commits deception, adultery, and murder to successfully get his wife the transplant she must have to live. Chrystie learns of the atrocities Martin has committed to get her new lungs, though he may have saved the life of the woman he loves, has he lost the part of her that loved him.

Ok so the story sounds a bit far-fetched right?….well it is, but ultimately the film is entertaining and is quite interesting and will be one you pause when you go to microwave the popcorn or for us CFers start the old Tobramycin drip .

The portrayal of Cystic Fibrosis is extremely accurate in comparison to other films and TV shows depicting CF..Nothing is glossed over, which is evident in the amount of mucus this film contains and the quite confronting material seen throughout, such as when the film dives in and gives a  major insight to the viewer of the act of SEX for a person suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. It illustrate a very real issue of how Breathing gets in the way of everything even SEX. The Film shows how SEX goes from being a joy, to being difficult, to being a chore, to being impossible.

This film was obviously highly researched as the Cystic Fibrosis Portrayal is so accurate it can be difficult to watch and is second to none when it comes to films and their portrayal of the CF symptoms and issues.

As for a Rating I Overall enjoyed the film immensely and give it a 2.5 Tobramycim nebules out of 5 from a story perspective, however bring in the accuracy and the real life aspects of the material. The films gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

Watch this Trailer I uploaded

IMDB – LastBreath
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PeGsOn
pegson1986@hotmail.com

September 7, 2009 Posted by | All Posts, Film/TV Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CF Film/TV Review – Jack and Jill vs. the World.

Jack and Jill vs. the World.

http://www.jackandjillvstheworld.com/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475252/

DVD Cover

DVD Cover

‘Jack and Jill vs. the World’ is your typical Romantic Comedy where straight edge workaholic Jack (Freddie Prinze Jr.)is a thirty-something New York City advertising executive, living a life of boring routine until he unexpectingly by chance on a rooftop meets a young quirky happy go lucky woman by the name of Jill (Taryn Manning)

Jill is needing a place to stay and so in trying to be more spontaneous in life Jack asks her to move in, and the two immediately start to fall for in love.  Jill convinces Jack that they should piece together a playful manifesto of “rules to live by.

Jack and Jill’s Manifesto of Rules to Live By
Rule 1 Be honest
Rule 2 Believe in fairy tales
Rule 3 Accept time as our friend
Rule 4 Make sure the nooky is good
Rule 5 Promote beauty. Wage a sustained campaign against ugliness
Rule 6 Abandon the pursuit of happiness and its false promise
Rule 7 Show compassion, except to pirates
Rule 8 Less TV
Rule 9 Always be willing to admit when you’re wrong

However unbeknownst to Jack, Jill suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and while she had planned on telling him she is now finding it difficult as things are going so well. Jill regularly disappears for days at a time for hospital tune ups leaving Jack in the lurch wondering where she is..
This leads down a path to disaster as rule number 1 of their relationship manifesto is Honesty..

So being a fan on the romantic comedy, I enjoyed this film…However as for the Portrayal of Cystic Fibrosis, its not very accurate for today’s standards, as we regularly see Jill sharing a bed with other CF’ers while in hospital for a tune up and we never see her take enzymes…However considering how there is only a handful of films featuring Cystic Fibrosis which for chronic illnesses is relatively new to Hollywood its differently worth seeing…

I give this film 2.5 Tobramycin nebules out of Five and say Rent it before buying

PeGsOn

pegson1986@hotmail.com

September 2, 2009 Posted by | All Posts, Film/TV Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CF Film/TV Review – The Book Of Stars

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Film Review – The Book of Stars
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0163559/

DVD Cover

DVD Cover

There are very few Films out there featuring Cystic Fibrosis. You may come across a few fleeting mentions of CF from time to time, however “The Book of Stars”  centres entirely around Cystic Fibrosis and the people it touches.

Mary who is suffering from Cystic Fibrosis is a 15 years old and her lungs are begining to rapidly deteriorate. Forced to spend most of her time indoors, she creates a scrapbook which she calls her “Book of Stars and Lovely Things” where she tracks life in a quirky and artistic fashion. Penny her old sister who was once a promising poet has now turned to a life of drugs to help numb her from the grim reality of the impending loss of her sister Mary, she has been forced to take on a job in prostitution to pay for Mary’s mounting medical expenses.

So I won’t go into anymore detail, otherwise I might just ruin the film.

As a person with Cystic Fibrosis I found the film quite difficult to watch as it hits so close to home but as a film as a whole it’s definitely one to see as the performances are particularly strong and the films boasts a superb soundtrack and interesting visuals.

I give the Film 3 cups of mucus out of five uhmmm I mean 3 out of 5 Stars

Find Book of Stars on Ebay

If you know of other films, tv shows featuring CF leave me a comment listing them.

PeGsOn

pegson1986@hotmail.com

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August 29, 2009 Posted by | All Posts, Film/TV Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment