Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds (director)
18 May 2018 (released)
20 May 2018
There can’t be many more difficult and terrible things to suffer than the death of a son or daughter. Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds suffered that agony when their son Josh was killed in road accident in Vietnam seven years ago. In his memory the couple set out on a road trip to Vietnam and around America meeting other families who had suffered similar bereavements.
The unshowy production and the good nature of the couple meant that they elicited some very personal stories as the people opened up and explained their circumstances and how they dealt with their loss. Each had their own way; one family has teddy totems, while Jane and Jimmy themselves have Josh’s photographic archive.
There’s a lot of driving and plenty of sunshine as they drive through the States which doesn’t seem at odds with the subject matter as there is clear pride in Josh’s short life and what he achieved. But this feels like padding for a film that is actually quite short and only glances on some issues that may have warranted further discussion.
For example, the lady who after 9/11 said that that those who had lost loved ones there now knew how she felt – which in some ways is a shocking thing to say. There was also the gun incident and a father taking the blame for his son’s accidental shooting but one can see the reluctance to go to intrude too far.
The film has a specific remit and it’s understandable that the filmmakers didn’t want to get caught up with the issues of gun legislation in the US. But the death in Memphis gave them scope to broaden and consider that for some sudden death and how they deal with it, is part and parcel of their daily lives.