A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Entire film proclaims: "Choose life." Proves that humans have a capacity to overcome devastating adversity. Inspires positivity along with an ability to face truth and aspire to transcend that truth. Provides concrete evidence of the invaluable nature of support and devotion of loved ones.
Positive Role Models
Heroic subject is resilient, courageous, determined; is a gifted artist; and values love and loving life above all else. Without exception, interviewees (family members, co-workers, friends) are devoted, protective, and tenacious, and find beauty despite tragic circumstances.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that It's Not Yet Dark is an inspiring documentary about Simon Fitzmaurice, a gifted young Irish filmmaker, loving husband, and father whose life was ravaged by a diagnosis of motor neurone disease (MND) in 2007, at age 34. MND is the species of neurological disorder that includes ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Based on Fitzmaurice's book of the same title, portions of which are read by Colin Farrell, the movie tells the real-life tale of a young man, in love and at the outset of an audacious career, interrupted by what he's told is an incurable, imminently terminal disease. Fitzmaurice and his wife, Ruth, make a crucial decision. He will fight to survive; she'll be his ally and support. In the Fitzmaurices' case, "survive" means to live well in spite of his illness. There are some possibly disturbing scenes (e.g., attaching Simon's breathing apparatus), but for every moment of heartbreak, there's a moment of admiration, revelation, and wonder. This movie delivers powerful messages about the human spirit and one man's will to overcome what are insurmountable challenges. It's highly recommended for families with teens and mature tweens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Graced with a vibrant, extraordinary man at its core, wonderful family photos/videos, and testimony from folks willing to share their heartfelt feelings, this film is inspiring. Director Frankie Fenton had a treasure trove of material from the Fitzmaurice family "archives" with which to work. He made the most of everything. The film is structured, produced, and edited to perfection; even movie-goers wary of being depressed or finding serious illness difficult to watch may be surprised at the powerfully good feelings they'll come away with. Colin Farrell, reading Simon Fitzmaurice's own words from his book, brings additional dignity, warmth, and humanity to the film.
When It's Not Yet Dark was released, more than 10 years after the devastating diagnosis and equally devastating prognosis, Simon Fitzmaurice was alive, prospering, and enriching the lives of those around him. Fortunately, a wide audience can share in the extraordinary circumstances of the young man's life through the bounty of documentary filmmaking.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.