Seattle Blogger Reviews ‘Cancer Movies’

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Writer living with cancer says she is often ‘blindsided’ at the movie theater.

How many times have I gone to a movie, maybe with one of my sons, looking for a little comedic relief from my life with cancer, only to find out that the movie is ABOUT CANCER!

Local blogger and cancer patient Jeanne Sather has added a new feature to her blog, reviews of popular films about cancer.

“How many times have I gone to a movie, maybe with one of my sons, looking for a little comedic relief from my life with cancer, only to find out that the movie is ABOUT CANCER!” Sather says in a recent post on

“Do I walk out? Suffer through it? Do I send my kid out for popcorn when the main character starts throwing up?

“I’m tired of being emotionally blindsided at the movie theater. That’s why I decided to start reviewing ‘cancer movies.’”

Sather, who is living with metastatic breast cancer, to date has reviewed “Pieces of April,” “Calendar Girls” and “Wit.” Future reviews will include the Japanese classic “Ikiru” (To Live), “Love Story,” “One True Thing” and more.

Some excerpts:

Pieces of April: Seventeen minutes into this “comedy” about April’s attempts to make Thanksgiving dinner for her estranged family, Joy (April’s mother, played by Patricia Clarkson) throws up for the first time, in a grungy public restroom. At that point, I wondered if we should walk out.

Ignore April (Katie Holmes). But if you’re in the mood for some black cancer humor—and to see someone else throw up for a change—choose this film to see Clarkson in action, showing off photos of her chest pre- and post-mastectomy, rescuing her damp wig from the toilet after yet another bout over the bowl, and leading the family in a graveside service for road-kill that she insists they stop and bury.

Calendar Girls: Don’t watch it for what it says or doesn’t say about cancer, watch it for the fun of seeing 11 women “of a certain age"—the members of the Rylstone Women’s Institute of North Yorkshire—toy with the idea of taking their clothes off to be photographed for a nude calendar. And watch the extra features for interviews with the real women whose story is told in the film.

Wit: This film, which stars Emma Thompson as a friendless scholar with advanced ovarian cancer who undergoes experimental therapy in a clinical trial, should be required viewing for all oncologists, cancer researchers, oncology nurses and others who work with cancer patients. If you are undergoing cancer treatment, you may want to give it a miss. Guaranteed to leave you with rug burns on your soul.

As a journalist and an outspoken advocate for the cancer patient's point of view, Sather began blogging in September 2006. She has written about how to avoid medical mistakes, Breast Cancer Barbie, MIA doctors, who disappear when their patients are dying, and much more.

Sather began her career as a journalist, working for newspapers, magazines and wire services, including Newsweek in Tokyo, Reuters in Seattle, MSN (also in Seattle) and a number of other publications.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 at age 43, she started writing about cancer for the Web site, which later fired her while in cancer treatment. That story made national headlines.

For further information:

Jeanne Sather

Jeanne.sather (at)

(206) 522-9560


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