Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Directed by: #DavidDrewry
We are all guilty of putting important goals and aspirations regarding the future to one side. “We can do that in a few years”, “I’ll think about that later”, but as life rolls on sometimes those matters are met, those dreams are lived or our course is altered entirely, for better and worse. However, what happens when you find that the time you thought you had is taken from you? What happens when that future may likely not arrive? And what happens when you find this out in your teens?
Such was the case for California teenager #CaitlinDolaghan, who at age 13 was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, and spent the next years undergoing intense chemotherapy to fight this horrible disease, before eventually ceasing the treatment as it proved ineffective and the cancer spread to her lungs. How could a girl with so much ahead of her possibly face this harsh verdict and battle not just the illness but the emotions that came with it? This documentary feature from #DavidDrewry shows us her story...and what a powerful one it is.
As much a film as it is a testament to a remarkable young lady, #TheTimeWeHave is a documentary that will hit hard those who have lived with, who have loved someone with and who have lost someone to, not only cancer, but any degenerative illness or a terminal/inoperable disease. Filmed through 2005 and looking at the last year in the 19-year old’s life, this film asks some tough but necessary questions about faith, mortality, purpose, memory and the deeds we do. Caitlin’s acceptance and confrontation of her life ending makes for an emotional but also resilient viewing. Her comments on what good deeds really are, how to spot those who really care and - most importantly - her often brutal but powerfully honest feelings about herself are of vital importance in understanding the wreckage cancer (and such diseases) causes but also the strength of the soul in even the hardest times.
Caitlin’s journey is one that inspires and thanks to some sublime editing by David Drewry and #JoanBaranow, her story is put together in a warm, truthful and respectful way. The film knows when to pull back with dignity (the ending especially) and when to delve in to its very difficult subject matter and in spite of the nature of that subject, there is something so hopeful about how Caitlin faces her condition head on and makes the most of her remaining life. Referencing another life lost far too soon, in young #CameronDuncan (who director #PeterJackson reached out to in support), Caitlin cites his struggle as a true inspiration for her and the film magnificently pays homage to his story, while allowing us to get to the very core of this wonderful young woman too.
Be it a call from her screen idol #JohnnyDepp and favourite musician #AmyLee (of #Evanescence) or her work helping other ill children that caught the attention of People magazine back in the day, Caitlin never stopped living. And that is really a core message here. You can, in a physical sense, face the end but how you use the time that remains is still your choice and Caitlin’s poignant story shows us just how much we can still do in the most difficult of circumstances. The film unexpectedly but beautifully intercuts the Dolaghan’s family journey with Caitlin’s favourite films #TheLordofTheRings trilogy and Studio Ghibli’s #PrincessMononoke with moving effect and you can see just why they meant so much to her and are massively relevant this story. Meanwhile we also get a glimpse into the family’s pain, their hopes and their frustrations, as the film enthusiastically shows the power of the family spirit and how art can help immeasurably to express what we sometimes struggle to or with.
Through the power of the written word, drawings, movies and indeed poetry (in her treatment sessions with some thoughtful individuals in that field), Caitlin is able to express her depressive moments of anger, her moments of query, her fears and her true feelings and seeing this family come to terms with the worst of all fears results in a documentary that is passionate, thoughtful and really quite important. Caitlin at one point hopes she can do something good with the time she has whatever it may be and yet by just being herself she has done just that. This film allows the Dolaghan’s story to help countless others and show that some things we cannot control but some things we very much can.
A delicate, sincere and memorable story of how people feel, how people cope and how experiences can be immortal even as we, sadly, are not.
Watch the official movie trailer below.