03 March 2002

Last evening my wife and I viewed the film version of Margaret Edson's play Wit, for which the author won the Pulitzer Prize. Edson teaches elementary school and this was her first play.

It is the story of a very scholarly professor of English literature who is an expert on the poetry of John Donne, superbly acted by Emma Thompson. And it is the story of her chemotherapy and death by ovarian cancer. While the film takes up themes concerning the practice of medicine, the study of literature, the emptiness of academia for its own sake, and the importance of human kindness, these are all woven around a deeper message about letting go of what ultimately does not matter and resting in the presence of God.

I haven't much more to say about the film, since in its sparseness and quiet, the film is something that is, I think, best left to stand on its own without unnecessary commentary. But it is an astonishingly beautiful film that raises all the right questions in a manner that leaves the viewer's heart in shreds.