Date Watched: – 29th October 2017
Director: – Andy Serkis
Genre: – Biography, Romance, Drama
Starring: – Andrew Garfield (Robin Cavendish), Claire Foy (Diana Blacker), Tom Hollander (Bloggs & David Blacker), Dean-Charles Chapman (Adult – Jonathan Cavendish), Hugh Bonneville (Teddy Hall) & Stephen Mangan (Dr Clement Aitken)
Based on true events this was another I was looking forward to see as this is one of my favourite genres of films. Robert Cavendish was a tea broker in Africa when in 1958 whilst in Kenya with his wife Diane became ill with Polio and became paralyzed from the neck down and was put on a mechanical respirator to help him breathe and was given just 3 months to live but after showing some recovery was then given a life expectancy of a year, Robert begged his wife to turn off his machine and start again but Diana heavily pregnant when Robert became paralyzed gave birth to their son Jonathan soon after, Diana started to learn how to look after Robert and with the help of friends and against the advice of doctors left the hospital to live at home with a use of a respirator at home. Two years after leaving hospital Robert had an idea and with the help of his friend Teddy Hall an Oxford University professor developed a wheelchair with a built in respirator that allowed Robert to move around and travel to Spain where the battery blows up and they have to manual breathe for Robert and the Locals come to where they’re parked and make a feast of it and help with the manual bagging for Robert. They then meet Dr Clement Aitken who helps them further with helping other people that are tied to a respirator to live and they travel to a conference in Germany to try and get the medical world to back them in trying to get more chairs for these disabled people which they manage to do so.
Robert starts to deteriorate and tells Diana that he is ready to die, at first Diana says no but then accepts his decision and after a farewell party with the help of Dr Aitken he is made comfortable and passes away with his family by his side 36 years after first being attached to a respirator and one of the longest living Polio survivors in the UK. During the credits it is said that Jonathan went on to become a film producer and then it tells you the film is produced by him in tribute to his Father and Mother.
Though I knew at the time this was based on a true story I found it really fitting that Jonathan their son produced this film as this meant that it stayed more to what really happened then being Hollywood’d (not sure if a real term but to me means it’s had the artist licence applied to it). Andrew and Claire were superb in the film and there is a chemistry between them that makes the pairing work well. This is certainly a well worth seeing film as it shows you also how recent care for the long term disabled has changed for the better and how recent that these people where simply locked away in hospitals. It is a beautifully done film and a solid and deserved 8/10