Written for CBR by Keeland Bowers
The Meaning of Life, directed and written by Cat Hostick, is an artistic portrayal of the tenacity of the human spirit. Not only is this film unapologetic in its ability to tug at the heartstrings, but it plays on the idea of what it means to live life to the fullest. Finn Faber, a musician (played by first-time actor and actual musician – Tyler Shaw), attempts to lighten the spirits of Sophia, a young leukemia patient (Sadie Munroe). However, he soon learns that there is more to this young girl than meets the eye and that Sophia has an important lesson for him to learn before he can move forward with his life. The story is impeccable and stirring, and although *SPOILER ALERT* Sophia passes, it is emotional, inspiring, and very effective. The Meaning of Life asks us to assess the futility of our ultimate demise, and to find beauty in however long, or short, that life is. This film has near flawless camera work with excellent framing and dramatic lighting, clear and precise editing, songs that will warm your heart, and an incredible acting ensemble.
Tyler Shaw has an incredible debut in this, his first film, and his background as a musician shines brightly. Sadie Munroe provides us with an excellent and memorable performance as Sophia. Moments between Shaw and Munroe were palpable, made even more heartbreaking with her passing. Krista Morin and Sergio Di Zio do an incredible job as Mr. and Mrs. Hill. Their struggle as parents dealing with a child with a terminal illness is poignant and heart-wrenching punctuated with smart dialogue and beautiful subtlety.
This film is practically perfect, deserving of nothing but praise. The Meaning of Life premiered Monday, June 5th, 2017, at Dances with Films Festival held in the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater.