I loved this movie. We watched it mainly because of Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. My only concern was that Jack would overact and spoil what plot there was. I needn't have worried. These two fine actors took an ordinary movie and made it into something special.
Jack Nicholson plays Edward Cole, an aging lonely, very wealthy hospital magnate. When he discovers he has cancer, he decides to fight for what's left of his life.
Morgan Freeman is Carter Chambers, a garage mechanic, who has sacrificed his life's ambitions for the reality of children and family. He is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and is stoically undergoing treatment to save his life.
When Edward ends up as his roommate, magic slowly begins to happen. The hallmark of a truly great actor is knowing when to let go of the role and let part of yourself bleed into the character. Here Nicholson, who had in real, life just been released from hospital after a long stay, let's us see him warts and all. Balding, overweight and looking every inch of his 70 years, he gives one of the best performances of his life.
Here too, Morgan Freeman, in his role as Carter, gives it depth and understated complexity. Underneath the garage mechanic, lies the heart of an intellectual and literate soul. A soul who feels he sold out his dreams.
What I respect about this movie is that it never descends into cheap tricks or smarmy moments to grab you. The entire movie relies more on the subtlties these two men bring to the silver screen.
One other performance of note: I was absolutely entranced by Sean Hayes of Will and Grace's performance. Perhaps taking a cue from the leading men, Sean plays his role as Thomas with perfectly understated wit and charm. Thomas is Edwards right hand man and all around major domo. This young man has depths of performance in him no one watching Will and Grace would ever credit him with.
I won't include any spoilers in this review. All I can say is that these two men, facing death, decide to embark on a lifetimes adventure. No self pity, no maudlin moments. They chose to "just do it" and did it in style.