Over 350,000 new cases of cancer arise every single year in the UK and with doctors looking to discover the latest in cures for the disease around the clock there is hope that the survival rate can go way beyond the current approximation of 50%. With such a disease still all too present in the world and families being massively affected by the repercussions of such an illness, the movies have always taken a respectably tender approach to such a strong subject matter.
One such film that embraces a true life tale involving cancer is Mum’s List. Starring Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox, the film tells the inspiring tale of mother-of-two Kate Greene who is sadly diagnosed with breast cancer and soon finds that the disease has spread and that she will not be able to recover. With her eldest son having overcome his own battle with cancer, the news shatters her and husband St John aka Singe’s world, with the pair having been childhood sweethearts since the tender age of 13.
Following the passing of Kate, Singe finds solace in the fact that his late wife has left behind a whole bunch of messages to maintain a reminder that she is always looking over them. From declaring love to his sons via the words ‘acres and acres’ to shopping for items such as orange Club biscuits and strawberry jam, her memory lives on in this beautifully told tale of love, loss and family.
Mum’s List, as one would expect, is a classic British tearjerker that will grab from the get-go with its emotional force and strong true-to-life tale. It would take a rather hardened individual not to shed a tear at this rather poignant and moving story involving an everyday family riddled by one of the world’s harshest killers.
Where the film succeeds is in its handling of the relationship of Singe and Kate, with the film jumping back and forth in time from the cancer treatment, the beginnings of their love and indeed following Kate’s passing. It works seamlessly, with each emotional scene hitting the right notes at all times and us really getting a sense of the powerful love shared within the family. Spall is the standout as he provokes the utmost of emotional attachment and Fox is simply brilliant as the slowly deteriorating Kate. Plaudits too must go to both Ross McCormack and Sophie Simnet, adding that extra layer of depth to the core characters as they portray the younger versions of them.
Unfortunately, the film is rather let down by its musical choices, from a disappointingly forceful score from Amelia Warner and chosen tracks including the likes of James Arthur, it all feels a tad thrust upon us and manufactured to make us cry. This is not required whatsoever, with such strong performances being the utmost reason why we become attached and so emotional throughout.
Nevertheless, Mum’s List is a powerful and exceptionally moving piece of cinema provoking the strongest of emotional reactions and solidifying this inspiring story in the mind for quite some time after viewing. Rafe Spall is an absolute revelation, Emilia Fox is superb and the remainder of the cast add that extra element to make this one a sure-fire hit as one the best recent tearjerkers you can find. If there’s one message we’d give after watching Mum’s List it would be, tell your friends, family and loved ones that you love them each and every day.
Mum’s List is out on DVD now.