“Heal the Living” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

3 May, 2017

Director: Katell Quillévéré
Screenwriters: Katell Quillévéré, Gilles Taurand
Director of Photography: Tom Harari
Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Dorval

Synopsis: A multifaceted drama revolving around the heart of a young surfer who dies in a freak car accident, leaving him brain-dead but able to save a sick woman’s life through organ donation.

Heal the Living Review:

A hidden gem buried in this year’s art house line-up, “Heal the Living” is a film of overwhelming importance, tackling a tricky subject head-on with an initial tragedy paving the way for a vital assessment of life lost and gained at the hand of circumstance. A moving account of colossal decisions made at the very worst of times, the movie begins the bereavement process with a vital question as it hands a pamphlet to the audience and asks for their assistance in turning a devastating event into a life-affirming miracle.

Featuring an array of French, Belgian, and Canadian talent, the film interlocks a handful of subplots into one coherent structure, photographing moments from the past and present while underscoring both the fragility and unending beauty of life as we know it. Eerily bleak yet told with precision, “Heal the Living” analogises a fatal car crash with the whoosh of a tidal wave as it collides with the film’s momentary protagonist, hurting towards him as a process of stark association begins between his fading life and that of the woman he will save.

Placing viewers on the edge of their seats as a heart transplant plays out in its entirety, director Katell Quillévéré hones in on the medical marvel at the core of Maylis De Kerangal’s “Mend the Living,” adding scalpels and forceps to an already stark visual awakening of a mind-boggling procedure. Treated with the same level of seriousness as a surgical documentary, the latter scenes crack ribs and expose vital organs, finding ways to present graphic procedures without becoming gratuitous. Executed with clear intent but supported by the weight of heavy themes, the film showcases the wonders of transplantation, making the beat of a heart feel that little bit more miraculous as every second goes by.


Review Date
Heal the Living