Part KING LEAR, part American Western, this film is a family drama about a controversial issue: should we be able to control how we die? It begins one morning at Stern Ranch, when solar energy pioneer Bob Stern finds out he may be terminally ill. As the film opens, we see Bob, a bare-chested, Robert Mitchum-type, hoisting kids and tinkering with machinery. Then the old home movies give way to an unprecedented home video: Bob tells his two daughters that he's been diagnosed with cancer and a life-threatening aneurysm. Staring into the camera, he says he's thinking about ending "this very nice life" before dawn, when his surgeries are scheduled to begin. Slowly, as the sun arcs around the ranch, there are revelations: Bob's difficult youth; his quirky lifestyle and business escapades; and the family's hidden dynamics. Bob has dominated his wife, son and daughters. He made his first fortune in the steel industry, his second in real estate, and coldly vows to decide whether to take his own life by using the same "cost-benefit analysis" he used to get rich. Will Bob kill himself? As the family struggle goes from verbal to physical, and the shadows deepen, we face the philosophical, religious, psychological and moral aspects of choosing death. The climax comes at dawn when Bob and his family make their choices.
National Emmy Nominee 2006
"Intensely personal, emotionally charged." -- USA Today
"Stunning." -- San Francisco Chronicle