By Michael MCGOWAN


Drama - Completed 2007

: When a young man finds out he had cancer, takes a road trip to deny the inevitable. During the journey he finds strength to live whatever life his has left on his own terms.

    • Year of production
    • 2007
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • CANADA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 94 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Michael MCGOWAN
    • Writer(s)
    • Michael MCGOWAN
    • EIDR
    • 10.5240/03A3-2456-29E2-BAF8-63EA-3
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • One Week tells the story of Ben Tyler, mid-twenties, who in the opening scene is diagnosed with cancer and has only a 10% chance of surviving. Though he feels healthy, it is imperative that he begins treatment the next day. However, Ben decides to postpone the treatment to take a road trip on his recently purchased motorcycle. What starts off as an ill-defined venture, soon morphs into a journey from Toronto to Tofino.
      It’s against the backdrop of Canada and the fulcrum of the recent diagnosis that Ben is forced to re-examine his life. Through real-time incidents, flashbacks and the use of a narrator, we realize that Ben is not ready to get married in three months to his fiancée, Samantha (who thinks the trip is reckless and refuses to accompany him.) There is something lacking in the relationship that he has never confronted before. Add to this, his job as a high school English teacher is less than fulfilling and the decision to buy a house is one he wished he wished he never made. In short, Ben has found himself in a life he’s not completely satisfied with.
      As Ben journeys west he meets a variety of people who help him understand the meaning of his life—what he believes in and what he really wants. While hiking in Banff, Ben gets desperately lost and is either feeling the effects of altitude or his illness. It’s here that he has an intense encounter with a woman who makes him irrevocably understand that he’s not in love with Samantha.
      When his fiancée arrives in Banff that night, Ben finally admits his true feelings and terminating the relationship. Ben makes a commitment to try and live a lifetime each day instead of going for treatment and continues driving west. However, as his condition worsens and the disease seems to become more of an actual presence he is forced to reconsider this decision. Finally, in Tofino, British Columbia, a mile zero on the Trans Canada highway, Ben has run out of west and is at a loss which way to turn and is feeling quite sick.
      As dusk approaches, Ben rents a surfboard and paddles out to sea. We feel that he might just keep paddling indefinitely and end his life this way. However, when a whale surfaces, Ben sees this as a sign that he should fight the cancer rather than give in to it. He decides to go home.
      After a final conversation with Samantha and meeting his family, we see Ben preparing for treatment. He shaves his head, goes to the hospital, enters a radiation tube etc. As he does this, he, along with other people around him recite part of the poem Ulysses. It has become his mantra not only for treatment, but also for living his life. We have a final scene in which the audience realizes that the previously unseen narrator is actually reading Ben’s book, One Week, for an audiobook production. His memoir has become a bestseller.