Not Going Quietly Parent Guide
Make every day count.
Parent Movie Review
If you were diagnosed with a fatal disease, how would you choose to spend your remaining time? Cherishing time with family members? Writing your immortal novel? Relaxing in a tropical paradise? Binge watching movies?
Not Ady Barkan. When the 32 year old father is diagnosed with ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease), he decides to embark on a crusade for a critically important issue: healthcare reform. This decision doesn’t come out of the blue. Barkan was a lawyer who had pursued a career in liberal activism. But those issues became personal when the time spent working through complex medical insurance bureaucracies cut into the time he wanted to spend with his wife, Rachael, and their toddler son, Carl. “The knowledge that I was dying was terrible,” says Barkan, “but dealing with my insurance company was even worse…I already knew America’s healthcare system was broken but I was experiencing its brokenness personally for the first time.”
Barkan’s fight for healthcare hits the big time when he encounters Arizona Senator Jeff Flake on a plane. After sharing his story with the senator, Barkan encourages him to vote against a tax cut that could imperil healthcare funding. Filmed by political strategist Liz Jaff – who Barkan had met only moments before – the encounter goes viral. Determined to seize their time in the spotlight, Barkan and Jaff decide to establish Be a Hero, a group dedicated to protecting and expanding healthcare access.
Ady Barkan is a fighter and he throws himself in to the political arena with gusto, surrounding himself with committed volunteers and activists. But the conflict that constantly tears him apart is within. The night of his diagnosis, Barkan recorded a raw video of his feelings, along with a pledge: “Although I am so sad and so scared, I really, really want to make the best of what I have left with the people whom I love and who love me.” Every speech, every road trip, every meeting with politicians not only takes him away from his family; it accelerates his physical decline, which also has a cost to his wife and son. Ady and Rachael are both aware of the costs of his activism and they both struggle to find a balance between his contributions to the wider world versus his time at home.
Not Going Quietly can be a painful film to watch, as Barkan weakens before our eyes. But it is also a moving portrait of perseverance in the face of adversity. Whether or not you agree with Barkan’s politics, it’s impossible to ignore his commitment and patriotism. Even Jeff Flake, who has been targeted by Be a Hero more than once, has described the activist as “an inspiration to all of us, no matter our politics.”
The one message of this film that will appeal to all viewers, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, is its depiction of the joy of family life. Ady is devoted to his family, yearning to be with his wife – a woman of intelligence, courage, and compassion – and his son, who looks like a cherub from a classic painting. His determination to leave a legacy of commitment, fortitude, and love can only be seen with admiration and respect.Directed by Nicholas Bruckman. Starring Ady Barkan, Tracey Corder, Elizabeth Jaff. Running time: 96 minutes. Theatrical release August 12, 2021. Updated August 11, 2021
Watch the trailer for Not Going Quietly
Not Going Quietly
Rating & Content Info
Why is Not Going Quietly rated Not Rated? Not Going Quietly is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: A man is briefly seen without his shirt on as he’s changing clothes. A married couple kiss. There’s brief mention of the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. A woman briefly mentions a sexual assault committed against her as a young child. There is a brief clip from the delivery room after a woman has a child.
Profanity: There are just under two dozen profanities, including 14 sexual expletives, three terms of deity, three scatological curses, and a couple of anatomical terms.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A main character smokes what looks like marijuana.
Page last updated August 11, 2021
Not Going Quietly Parents' Guide
For more information about ALS and to donate to research, you can check out:
International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations: Find ALS/MND associations around the world
For more about Ady Barkan and the causes he supports, you can follow these links:
Wikipedia: Ady Barkan
Loved this movie? Try these books…
For more from Ady Barkan, you can read his memoir, Eyes to the Wind. Three other memoirs about ALS include Until I Say Good-Bye by Susan Spencer-Wendel and Bret Witter, It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice, and We Know How This Ends by Bruce H Kramer.
Suffering from another neurological condition – in this case Parkinson’s disease – Michael J. Fox has written about his experiences in Lucky Man. Further reflections can be found in No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality.
The ice bucket challenge of 2014 raised millions of dollars for research into ALS. For the story behind the phenomenon, read The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pete Frates and the Fight Against ALS by Caey Sherman and Dave Wedge.
Related home video titles:
A history of activism by disabled Americans is recounted in the documentary Crip Camp.
The Theory of Everything is a biopic of Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous people to live with ALS.
When Robin Cavendish is paralyzed by polio, his wife Diana refuses to give up and let him die. Fighting against traditional medical practice, she does everything she can to make sure Robin can enjoy a productive life with his family. Breathe is based on a true story.
In another movie based on real life, Penguin Bloom recounts the adjustments faced by Sam Bloom after she was paralyzed in a freak accident. Set in Australia this film provides a moving story in beautiful locations.
If you’re looking for an uplifting documentary, 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story introduces viewers to a young man who was paralyzed in a football game. With the support of his family and fiancée, he rebuilds his life.