As I read the reviews of this movie after screening it myself, I was disappointed in many of the reviews. This is the story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, produced by their now grown son, Jonathan. Robin (Andrew Garfield) was stricken with polio in 1958 and lived the rest of his life fully paralyzed but for being able to make facial expressions and move his head just enough to ding a bell. This no doubt was the performance of a lifetime for Garfield, being limited to using only his face for most of the movie, and most critics focused on his performance. However, it is very clear that this movie was made as a tribute by Jonathan to both of his parents, and perhaps even a thank you letter to express utmost gratitude for his mother in particular.
As I watched the movie, I felt Diana was the true hero of the story. When Robin wanted to die, because it was too depressing to be fully paralyzed and only kept alive by a machine that breathed for him, it was Diana that would not let him die. For love and duty, she was everything that exemplified what it means to love and be married. All she wanted to do was to make his life better, and to do whatever was possible to make the most out of it. I think many of us can relate to that desire to make and see the ones you love happy, especially when they are at their lowest. Not only did she find a way to get him home and out of a life condemned to the hospital at a time when the thought of that was essentially unthinkable, in order to do so, she figured out exactly what she would need and what she would need to be able to do in order to get him out of the hospital, living the rest of his life always two minutes away from death. She was the pillar of strength for the family. She showed absolute determination, and no fear. This movie will recall to mind The Theory of Everything, only Robin Cavendish wasn't some mad genius; but rather, a regular man with a regular family. So, there's a certain simplicity to this story that adds to the beauty of it all.
Once Robin was free of the hospital, he regained hope and excitement for life, and he truly was an inspiring person--always pushing the boundaries of his limitations. He had an incredible support system in Diana and their family and friends, which enabled him to keep pushing boundaries. He wanted to be able to sit outside, they found ways to do so. His son wanted to go to Africa, and he didn't want to disappoint, so they all figured out a way to allow him to travel. Diana through it all was the epitome of grace and vitality.
I was incredibly touched by not just the the story of their lives, but also their love story. It's a reminder to us all what "in sickness and in health" means.
This one comes out soon across the globe and I totally recommend it.
BIG LOVE & HUGS