I saw the short film during a member only Festival Short Favorites screening Milwaukee Film had after the 2014 festival. It was inspirational as we watched Will deal with the emotional effects of losing his limbs. He lost his job and it forced his partner to have to become a caregiver. Will used his sense of humor to help and started doing some stand-up comedy which is dark but very funny. As someone that lived in Boston and used to go down to the Charles River to just ponder life I could relate when he was finally able to go down to the river.
The feature film goes over the basics of what happened and picks after the short and how he is doing now. His partner Angel and friend Steve have become his caregivers and he has come to accept his new normal. But it’s the decision to have the arm transplant that drives the narrative of the feature. We follow Will as he talks to the doctors about the risks vs reward of the surgery and and he also gets to talk to the person who had the very first arm transplant. We see clearly his resolve to go through with the surgery even as those around him might have some doubt. It’s an inspirational story about one man overcoming a series of devastating challenges. It’s also a story I can relate to in a way since my dad had a heart transplant and I understand the challenges that go along with having a transplant and the stress it puts on the caregivers. And while it was only touched upon briefly the concept of non life saving transplants would be an interesting story by itself.
While the movie is inspirational it lacks the emotional tone of the short. The short really was more about his emotional journey and this one was about his physical journey. There were plenty of emotional parts of the movie but Will knew what he wanted it and it was just physical barriers in his way. Still it was a crowd pleaser and if you are looking for some inspiration then this film will do it for you. An added benefit of seeing the film at the festival was that Will was able to attend with both Angel and Steve. It was great to see them all in person and have them answer some questions.
Overall - B+