Be Here Now (2015) Film Review from the 21st Annual Los Angeles Film Festival, a movie directed by Lilibet Foster, starring Andy Whitfield and Vashti Whitfield is a documentary that is truly heartwarming and motivational about the former Spartacus actor Andy Whitfield. What started as a Kickstarter project mended into a devastating yet telling love story that truly proves the strength behind the love between Andy and his wife Vashti.
The film starts off with Andy who is re-diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and we journey with him as he fights his battle with cancer. The truly touching story speaks about staying in the present and not fearing what we don’t know. He takes us to India as he tries to keep an open mind on trying every possible healing process. When an astrologer tells him that he will live a short life, he decides to go back to Australia and begin chemotherapy. After rounds of chemo and radiation he finally receives the bad news that his lymphoma has spread too much and is taking over his body. As we see Andy through this struggle we fight with him each minute, believing that he will survive this. He stays strong for his children and tries to make most of the time he has with them.
Vashti, also a true survivor in this journey, struggles as a loving wife and mother. She starts off a little weak as we see her fighting hard to accept what is happening to the love of her life and best friend. She seems to be falling apart as thoughts of being a single mother and losing her best friend play through her mind. The film goes on to redeem Vashti’s capability and energy as she continues to embrace the power struggle between her husband’s life and cancer. She remains a soldier standing next to Andy and he feeds off of her strength through his battle. It is excruciating to hear Andy’s test results as the film goes on but the two have a unique bond that helps them through, maybe for the viewers or maybe for themselves, but their courage and boldness is empowering.
Courage is the theme that carries throughout the movie as Vashti and Andy encourage people to follow their instincts and live life for the moment. Andy worked hard for many years before he got the job of his dreams as the lead in Spartacus. Sadly, he finally made his dreams come true and he left the world but not without leaving a mark in the world. Maybe life is not about what we didn’t get but all the things we do to fulfill our dreams while we are still here in the world. Vashti explains that the film is not about dying, it is about living. At the end of his journey, he uses all of his strength to tell his kids that he is broken like a butterfly without a wing. It just shows how positive he remained until the end for his family and himself. A truly inspiring film that touches upon a very sensitive issue leaving the audience touched with heartfelt emotions.
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