The Farewell Party: Sad, sweet goodbyes

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Farewell Party: Sad, sweet goodbyes

Truth be told, “The Farewell Party” isn't for everyone.  It is a harsh and incredibly realistic look at a group of seniors ravaged by age.  Some are bedridden, others are grasping the last memories of themselves with everything they've got left.  And yet, if you have the courage, “The Farewell Party” promises some gentle and occasional bouts of true laughter that only being smack dab in the middle of the worst of times can give.

When one of the group is doomed to wait for cancer to finally claim him, a plan is put in place to give him death with dignity.   They ask a doctor to euthanize the man only to be rebuked.   But the residents of the Jerusalem retirement home do not give up easy.   After securing the drugs from a former veterinarian who was planning on using the drugs himself someday, they build their own self euthanasia machine.

While the group itself is torn on the moral implications of their actions things get even stickier when word of their invention and action leaks.   Suddenly they are being besieged by other seniors to do same for their suffering loved ones.

The movie is sad.  How much of that sadness comes from the screen and how much from your own mind and heart as you ponder the fate of your loved ones and yourself is a very blurred line.   But there is great heart and a wonderful sense of humor displayed tackling such controversial and sensitive material.

And the performances?   ALL the performances are pure gold.  The Farewell Party is an Israel/Germany production and is in Hebrew with subtitles.  Therefore you, like me, will probably be unfamiliar with the cast.   Ze've Revach as Yehezkel is the heart and soul of the group and the movie.  But Levana Finklestein as his Alzheimer's stricken wife gives a haunting and heartbreakingly beautiful performance.   Aliza Rosen as Yana is a feisty force to be reckoned with.  While Ilan Dar, Raffi Tavor, Yosef Carmon and Hilla Sarjon match their performances at every opportunity.

The Farewell Party might not be the kind of party you want to attend but if you are brave enough to go, the rewards are deep and long lasting.  

“The Farewell Party” waves goodbye to 4 Red Vines for incredible story telling

Previews of these movies were provided to me by the studios but it in no way affects my unbiased review.