Editors Note: “Price is Right” is a running column from local film enthusiast Mr. Price. He reviews selected Strasburg Film Festival films. If he posts a negative review, then the Shenandoah Film Collaborative will respond within his reviews as to why we selected the certain film. By going about it this way, we can help ensure the reader that these are honest film reviews.
“A Mother’s Will” documents the production of a musical by the same name in the wake of tragedy. After the death of her son Will, Ann-Charlotte Robinson helps to create this play as a way to spread awareness about suicide and mental illness. The film, and the play it documents, serve as both a heartfelt eulogy to someone who meant the world to those involved, and a message to others in a similar situation.
“A Mother’s Will” alternates between showing us bits and pieces of Will’s life and exploring the effect of his passing on his loved ones. Clips from old home videos starkly enforce the profound tragedy of his death, while at the same time the interviews with family, friends, and the creators behind the play reveal how deeply loved Will was. The core of the film is the idea that even, or especially, those most wounded by Will’s passing have dedicated themselves to doing anything possible to make a change in the world, to prevent the next tragedy of this nature. The strength of Ann-Charlotte is on full display here. Her willingness to be so open with this pain, so that others will know they are not alone, is astounding and inspiring.
Both the film and musical “A Mother’s Will” are about trying to make something positive out of tragedy, and in this they absolutely succeed. The pain documented here is brutally real, but that is not where the film’s focus is. Rather, it is on the attempt by a group of incredible people to do some good with that pain, to encourage those in a similar situation to reach out, and to do whatever is possible to keep this from happening to any others.