Five children battle cancer in this exhaustive documentary that sheds light on the toll the disease takes on its victims, their families, and the doctors and nurses who care for them. At the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, we meet teenaged Justin, who has battled leukemia for years; six year-old Alex, who has hardly known anything else but cancer in her short life; and fifteen year-old Tim, who refuses to accept his grim prognosis. In the second half of the film, Al and Jen come into the picture; they are just beginning their struggle. All of these patients face their diagnoses and treatments with startling bravery and maturity.
Filmmakers Bognar and Reichert spent over six years documenting their subjects with a fly on the wall intimacy, so it feels as if we're living each moment alongside the families. The film's tragic theme is somewhat mitigated by the love of family we feel, as well as the unswerving commitment of the health care professionals to do everything possible for these kids. The film raises important questions about end of life decisions; several families have trouble letting go, and the doctors struggle as they seek to balance palliative care with setting realistic expectations. Don't miss the sad but uplifting "Lion."