“It’s is Svendsen’s piercingly frank portrait of Rodriguez’s struggle to maintain control of her life–and the resulting strain on her relationships with her husband and even her son–that gives the film its power.”
– Chris Woods, Macleans
I was reluctant to adapt this for CBC television until I read Lisa Hobbs Birnie’s non-fiction account Uncommon Will: The Death and Life of Sue Rodriguez. Sue Rodriguez was a Canadian mum, slightly older than me, with a young child, who discovered that she was terminally ill with ALS. She made a decision to fight for assisted suicide and took her case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, lost, and then ended her life her own way. Sue became very real to me when I discovered she had an extensive to-do list for the last week of her life which involved meal-planning for her child, dog grooming, a haircut for herself, the will, gifts to those who had supported her, all that. I was also raising two children, an infant and a toddler, thirteen months apart, and when I learned that Sue could hear her child crying from a nightmare in the middle of the night, but wasn’t physically able to get up and comfort him, I wanted to be part of the team–director Sheldon Larry, star Wendy Crewson, NDP MP Svend Robinson, and the late CBC executive Jim Burt, and Alliance’s Noreen Halpern–conveying her story to Canadians.
Winner, Leo, for Best Feature Screenplay, 1999
Winner, Top Ten Award, Writers Guild of Canada, Best Screenplay, 1999
Nominee, Gemini, Best Screenplay, 1999
Nominee, Gemini, Best Television Movie, 1999