The Last Best Year (1990)

When Jane, a career woman and quiet loner (Bernadette Peters), discovers she has a terminal illness, she has no one to turn to. Her doctor recommends psychologist and friend Wendy Haller (Mary Tyler Moore) to help her come to terms with her diagnosis, and in doing so, helps her open up to others. Soon she has a small but solid group of friends and relatives there with her as she fights against cancer. The Last Best Year originally aired on ABC in November of 1990, just at the beginning of the golden era of made-for-TV movies, and was well-received by critics on its release. That said, Ken Tucker’s review makes a good point: it’s fantasy to the point of improbability, and for most people faced with terminal illness, they don’t get pat resolutions or unlimited financial and emotional support. Have you ever wondered what happens to the other patients of the doctors in these films? Wendy spends so much time with Jane that I can’t imagine she has time for anyone else.   It’s how we would want to deal with terminal illness if we had the choice, and somehow Jane has that choice, though there is never any explanation why. In real life, how do you even explain something like that? You don’t. In cinema, however, there is always some kind of explanation, usually that the person in question is deserving of a reprieve from death or, at the least, a good death. The Last Best Year is somewhat … Continue reading