The Bucket List is a comedy-drama film that features two men, Carter Chambers and Edward Cole, both suffering from terminal lung cancer. Carter is a family man, a blue-collar mechanic, and an amateur historian who aspired to be a professor of history but never rose above his mechanic status due to financial issues – he was “broke, black, and with a baby on the way” (IMDb). On the other hand, Cole was a healthcare tycoon and a four-time divorcee who had an estranged relationship with his family. Carter has a loving wife and three successful children and grandchildren while Cole had one daughter. Initially, Cole, the owner of the hospital, was reluctant to share the room with Carter whom he claimed “looks half-dead already” (Campbell). As they receive their respective treatment, however, the two men manage to find a common ground and began to open up to each other.
Carter had earlier began to write a “bucket list” (a list of things to do before he dies) but after learning that he has less than a year to live, he tosses it on the floor in despair. Cole later finds the list and encourages Carter to fulfill his dreams because it is “never too late” (IMDb). Cole convinces Carter to take a trip and offers to finance all their vacation expenses. The two friends, determined to make the best of their last vacation, go skydiving, climb pyramids, eat dinner the most luxurious restaurant, drive a Shelby Mustang, and visit Africa. After learning that Carter has never had an affair with another woman besides his wife, Cole tries to hire a prostitute for him but Carter turns the offer down. They later return home and Carter goes home to be with his extended family. His reunion with family reveals that he is a man of faith. The family pray together before a meal and later when Carter collapses and is rushed to hospital, they pray in the hospital waiting room. Cole, on the other hand, is not a religious man as depicted by his intent to take Carter around the world to experience sex, drugs, and rock and roll (MovieGuide). He opposes Carter’s religious beliefs and one time when he cries out “Jesus” twice when experiencing pain, Cole claims he was just having a nightmare (Campbell). Their ongoing interactions see Carter cross several items on his bucket list including “laugh till I cry”.
Even though Carter believes in life after death, his illness has stripped him off hope and faith. He projects a defeated attitude and even becomes distant from his wife. In fact, his wife Virginia is convinced that he has given up his fight for cancer. Although Virginia is prepared for Carter’s death, she is disappointed at his lost will to conquer cancer. Nonetheless, Carter still believes that family, friends, and being a source of joy to others is the true meaning of life. He tries to reunite Cole with his daughter, although in vain (MovieGuide). On the other hand, Carter is full of life despite being aware that he also has less time to live. He persuades Carter to have their “last shot” and that it is “never too late” (IMDb). This demonstrates his positive attitude towards life. Carter dies during surgery and Cole reunites with his daughter and meets his granddaughter he was unaware of. The movie ends with an epilogue, which reveals that Cole lived to age 81.
Campbell, Layton. “The Bucket List 2007 Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman”. YouTube. 2007. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDbNSRWt5ss. 13 April 2019.
IMDb. “The Bucket List (2007): Plot”. IMDb. 2007. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825232/plotsummary. 13 April 2019.
Movie Guide. “The Bucket List”. MovieGuide. 2018. https://www.movieguide.org/reviews/The-Bucket-List.html. 13 April 2019.