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So Much So Fast (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)


SO MUCH SO FAST (2006)


Starring Stephen Heywood, Jamie Heywood, Benjamin Heywood, Wendy Stacy Heywood, Melinda Heywood, Peggy Heywood, John Heywood, Robert Bonazoli, Ken Thompson and Steven Ascher.


Screenplay by Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan.


Directed by Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan.


Distributed by Balcony Releasing. 87 minutes. Not Rated.


ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease as it is better known, is still a nearly complete mystery decades after it took the life of the beloved baseball player whose name became synonymous with the disease. It is, as the afflicted man in this touching documentary acknowledges, completely random.

Co-director Jeanne Jordan had been touched by the affliction before. Her mother became afflicted by the nerve disease and despite doctors’ care and the faith, hope, and love of family, she deteriorated quickly and steadily. The disease is rare but merciless, stripping the patient of motor functions and eventually the power of speech, and yet the brain is unaffected, still working fine in the shattered vessel of the body.


So, Jordan and her partner Steven Ascher had a personal stake in it when they heard the story of Stephen Heywood, a handsome young man who was stricken, and his brother Jamie who decided to quit his job and create a "guerrilla" science lab to find a cure.


So Much So Fast is a documentary about disease and medicine, but it is not a medical film. We are only given so much information on the malady, the directors instead leave it to be experienced. Instead of boring facts, we watch in horror as the charming, handsome, lively man quickly loses nearly all of his motor skills and his voice changes to an unintelligible slur before it abandons him completely.


Just as fascinating is Jamie's story. His obsession creates a multi-million dollar enterprise to research ALS. However, that obsession also eventually wreaks havoc on his personal life.


The movie also turns its eyes to the rest of the family and what they experience. The mother is a sad mixture of doting nurse and a state of denial -- she feels if she keeps herself busy with caring for her son, she won't have time to ponder his failing health.


The movie ends on something of an ambiguous note, not telling us what happened to Stephen, just leaving him on a North Carolina beach, surrounded by family and friends. Which, really, is a better way to remember him. (10/06)


Jay S. Jacobs


Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 11, 2006.



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