One Week

Pacey is all grown up in One Week, an excellent film that celebrates life and being Canadian

ONE WEEK (2008)
Starring Joshua Jackson
Directed by Michael McGowan
Released by Mongrel Media
94 minutes

It was quite a shock for me when I realized Joshua Jackson was the star of the recent Canadian film One Week.   It’s been five years since my guilty pleasure Dawson’s Creek had gone off the air and who would have thought that Pacey has grown up into such a good looking man (I admit I was always a Dawson-shipper back in the day) and more importantly such a strong actor?

With him alone onscreen the majority of the time, the film would have been a complete disaster if it didn’t have a strong lead.   Jackson delivers on all counts.

The film begins with high school teacher Ben Tyler (Jackson) getting the worst news one could possibly get.   Having had no idea he was sick, Ben is told by his doctor that he has stage four cancer and has at best one year left to live.

Understandably shaken by the news, Ben begins taking stock of his life and realizes that if he really does only have one year, one week or one day left to live, he’s going to make the best of it.   The first step Ben takes is to impulsively buy a motorcycle and makes the decision to take a road trip out west.

While Ben’s practical fiancée Samantha (Liane Balaban) can’t comprehend why he’d want to delay his treatment, she reluctantly agrees to let him go on his trip of self-discovery.   Balaban, who was so good in another great Canadian film New Waterford Girl (1999) is well, pretty bland here as uptight Samantha.   Thankfully she has little screen time and the film really starts to come alive when Ben leaves Toronto and begins to hit the road.

Guided by an awesome soundtrack and the soothing narrating voice of Campbell Scott, Ben discovers Canada most likely for the first time along with the audience.   As a Canadians, we’re always told we live in a beautiful country, but when I think of taking trips to beautiful places I think of France or Spain or the Mediterranean… one of the great things about One Week is that it shoves in your face how ridiculous it is that as Canadians we don’t appreciate the beauty of our own country.

As Ben drives along Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and finally British Columbia I was astounded that I was realizing for the first time just how many gorgeous parts there are to our country.

Ben never has a great “a-ha” epiphany moment during his journey but the point is for a man who always held back, taking the trip was the first major step in what time he has left.   What you’re left with is a simple movie with an incredibly simple message: don’t wait until you have a week left before you do the things you always wanted, do it now.

It may be scary and it may not work out, but you’ll definitely have an adventure.

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