This documentary tells the story of Simon Fitzmaurice who, during a time where his career and personal life were ascending to perfection, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND). We travel through the life of this extraordinary man, and how with an undeniable spirit, and the truest love story that you’ll ever see on screen, he lives every day the best that he can.
There are few things in life that scare me, sharks are the main thing, and the other thing that gives me the shivers harder than anything else is my own body. Most of you don’t know this but I have a few health problems and need crutches to walk, eventually I’ll be in a chair, it’s something that I fight every day and will continue to fight. I am not saying that my life is anything as close to challenging as Simon’s and his family, but it’s the one thing that keeps me up nights, and made me cry through this whole documentary. Part of that was the inspiration that Simon is every day that he is alive, the other part was realizing that I’m far from as strong as Simon.
We learn that this young man, with this amazing family, lived for movies, they were like a religion in his house, and how he started to make his own films. Success followed him and when he stepped behind the camera and released his movies the world of entertainment listened and rewarded him. He married Ruth and their life was on the road to being the love story that we all hope for. Years pass, children come, and then a strange feeling in his foot. The diagnosis comes and Motor Neuron Disease hits them like a truck. But where most people crumble, and I would too, this family and Simon comes together like you wouldn’t believe. It is a tale of the heart that will break you down to lift you up.
Each step of the progressive illness is charted with interviews from friends and family. Showing the gradual effects of the MND draws you in as a viewer, you see Simon never shirking from his responsibility as a husband, a Father, or a creative film maker.
What sets It’s Not Yet Dark apart from other documentary films this year is firstly the narration by Colin Farrell who speaks the words that Simon now cannot speak. Farrell shows some exceptional emotional that goes beyond acting. He speaks Simon’s words not as an actor but as a human that understands our frail nature. The conversations with Simon’s loved ones are so emotional and honest that it makes the whole film live on that raw nerve.
A good documentary informs, and a perfect documentary, which this is, informs and inspires while making you face something deep within yourself. It’s Not Yet Dark shows that illness, disability, position in life, and the challenges that we face on a day to day basis are no excuse for a lack of enjoyment of life, or for a failure to achieve what lies within you. The big question I’ve asked myself since watching this film, and I’ve asked it every day, is that if Simon can do all he’s done since the diagnosis, what’s my excuse? I haven’t found an answer, but I will, I have no reason not to any more. No matter what you are doing, when this documentary appears in your area you go and see it, believe me you will not walk out disappointed.
Director: Frankie Fenton
Star: Colin Farrell