What would you do if you found out you were dying? Kate Hudson wrestles with love and death in what may be the best performance of her career. You’ll definitely want to wear your waterproof mascara for this movie that will have you both laughing and crying.
Meet Marley (Kate Hudson), a perky thirtysomething with a successful career in advertising, great friends, really cute guys who answer her booty-calls and a faithful bulldog. In the prime of her life, Marley finds out she has cancer — the colon kind. When she goes under anesthesia for her first rectal procedure, she meets God in the image of Whoopi Goldberg, a perfectly witty yet frank higher power. Whoopi tells her she’s going to die, not in the “we all must pay taxes and die” sense, but in the “your cancer is terminal” sense. How does a young, vibrant woman come to terms with her own impending mortality? Denial is usually a good first step.
Marley is great at making a**-cancer jokes and deflecting the grave reality of her fate with humor, but when her young, hot doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal) begins to fall for his patient, she reconsiders her plight. Despite her fear of commitment that is clearly inherited from her absentee father (Treat Williams) and emotionally restrained mother (Kathy Bates), will she let herself fall in love?
The brightest moment in the movie comes from a visit by Vinnie (Peter Dinklage), a professional escort whose apt nickname is “A Little Bit of Heaven” inspired by the nature of his romantic skills, giving a whole new definition to the term boy-toy. Dinklage (Game of Thrones) is an excellent choice here as the suave playboy-for-hire and may even pique your erotic interest as his charisma and prowess smolders beneath his comedic performance.
Anyone who’s ever been touched by cancer knows there is no correct way of dealing with it. This movie is about a woman with the courage to try, and as a mere mortal, that’s the best any of us can do. This heavy subject matter is made watchable by Hudson’s fantastic performance. For the first time, I was inspired by her rich comedic lineage, bestowed on her by her mother Goldie Hawn and finally honed by Hudson’s hard work. She has finally come into her own as an actress and comedienne, and it is wonderful to watch.
Bottom line: As I visited the ladies room after the movie to sop up my own tears, every gal in there was fixing their own swollen, tear-stained face and “taking a moment.” There’s much to laugh about in A Little Bit of Heaven, but prepare for the grand waterworks.
Photo credit: Millenium Entertainment