I wasn’t going to watch “Farrah’s Story” last night, but then I did, all two hours of it. It made for a fitful night’s sleep and every time I woke up I was thinking about it and how horrible and tragic and hopeless her situation is.
I wasn’t going to write about it but this review in the New York Times made me angry. The comments by readers are across the board.
As to those who wonder why she went to Europe for surgeries and treatments not authorized in the U.S., I thought the answer was clear: When her cancer returned and the tumor was the size of a peanut, her doctors at UCLA said they wouldn’t operate because the surrounding tissue had been too damaged by her prior chemo and radiation. Maybe I missed something, but I thought they were telling her there was nothing they could do, so she opted to let the doctors in Germany try.
Did she make some bad decisions, like flying back to the U.S. against the wishes of her doctors who thought it was too soon? Yes. Did that make a difference? Unknown.
Farrah Fawcett is dying, she and those who love her are in pain, and her documentary was powerful, in a very disturbing way. I think criticizing her or Ryan O’Neal or her son, who happens to have a drug addiction that like thousands of others, he is unable to shake, is crude. I also have a lot of admiration for Alana Stewart, who apparently has been by her side through this entire, awful ordeal.
As to the film’s effect on viewers, while some say it may promote early detection and cause people to seek treatment, I wonder whether it’s not equally possible others will say, “Just let me go now. If that’s what ahead, why bother?” Particularly those without the support system Farrah has.
Of the comments to the article I read, I think this one most sums up my attitude on the show:
I am disappointed to see “Farrah’s Story” being critiqued as if to say there is a “right” way or “wrong” way for a person to present their end of life story…. or the choices that one makes to seek help and remission for their illness.
I admire Ms. Fawcett’s grace in exploring and attempting to make sense of this obviously painful [literally and emotionally] time in her life.
Other news articles on the documentary:
- LA Times: It wasn’t the film Farrah wanted to make
- The Guardian: An Unflinching Documentary