I hated this movie. It’s hard to explain why. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched my grandparents suffer end ultimately lose their battles with various forms of cancer. Maybe it was because if the intimate details and realness of the scenes and storyline. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent too much time seeing loved ones in the hospital. Regardless, this movie was hard to watch.
Vivian’s life was extended because she never gave up; she never lost her wit and intelligence. Even in her final days, her hallucinations revolved around her college and her teachings. That was who she was; what she was. She was taught at a young age to read and to respect the words on the page. They each meant something to the story and without them, the story wouldn’t be complete. The scene with her father showed that. She carried that knowledge and intent with her through her years as a professor and even in the hospital. She chose her words carefully and used them with pride.
We follow her through the last stages of her life. We watch her suffer. We see her in pain. We experience her death. She has no family and befriends her nurse who becomes a companion of sorts. Vivian struggles with her new reality but doesn’t want to admit it. She wants to stay strong and keep her reputation as a tough professor.
She’s strong but unfortunately not strong enough to beat the cancer. Her body was ultimately being used as a research experiment and upon her death, her doctor and former student wanted to revive her, despite her wishes. Even in death, she was doing what she knew best; teaching.