Actor Tim True steps behind the camera for his directing debut for the drama Here Awhile which he also cowrote. It’s the story of a prodigal lesbian sibling, 30-something-year-old Anna (Anna Camp), who has finally come home just to die. Her cancer is well-advanced and inoperable so she has returned to the family home in Portland as Oregon is one of the few States that have an aid-in-dying law.
Her father had thrown her out of the house several years ago when she had come out as gay, but now both her patents are dead. So Anna is confronting her startled younger sibling Michael (Steven Strait) when she turns up completely out of the blue after having totally broken off all contact with him for years.
Once a new set of local Doctors confirm her fatal prognosis, she finally shares the details of her illness to Michael, although omitting the real reason why she is now home. When he discovers the Death by Dignity brochure however her secret is out and Michael puts up a vehement defense for why she should focus instead on fighting the cancer by any and every possible means.
Anna’s girlfriend Luisa (Kristin Taylor) turns up from their home in LA to help Anna complete the legal and medical criteria which will allow her to be euthanized. Michael had been hoping that Luisa could be recruited in helping Anna re-think, but that time has past and she is fully supportive of her decision.
The only light relief in this drama that gets increasingly sad as it motors to its inevitable finality ,is provided almost accidentally by next door neighbor Gary (the incredibly talented Joe Lo Truglio). Gary’ is autistic which has him uncontrollably blurting out the truth which some how always lightens the situation. He has taken quite a shine to Anna, and he is the only one who fearlessly supports what she is about to do …… and has the habit of inadvertently stealing every scene he is in
Whether True intended it or not, the film serves as a great testimonial of the reality of the whole Death by Dignity Movement. He not only shreds some of its mystery but makes the whole process seem the perfect solution for the Anna’s of the world who don’t want to wait until the illness cruelly robs them of any quality of life.
At times the drama loses some of its powerful message as the story gets drawn out, but even though you are expecting the end, it is so perfectly played bereft of any melodrama, that it packs such a punch that leaves you reeling.
If you can deal with an qualms you may have about the subject, then this intriguing wee indie movie is so worth the watch
P.S. Here Awhile is currently streaming on all major VOD platforms