You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

How to Die in Oregon

A beautifully intimate look at terminally ill patients who choose to end their lives painlessly and legally.

With: Cody Curtis, Roger Sagner, Randy Stroup, Nancy Niedzielski, Gordon Green, Derek Humphry.

The rare film that dares to detail the physical, emotional and philosophical challenges attendant to human mortality, Peter D. Richardson’s beautifully intimate documentary “How to Die in Oregon” uses the titular state’s Death With Dignity Act to portray terminally ill patients who choose to end their lives painlessly and legally. Aptly harrowing, but inspiring as well, the film finds an unforgettable subject in Cody Curtis, a 54-year-old woman whose liver cancer forces her to weigh life and death on ever-tipping scales. HBO’s exquisite docu, winner of Sundance’s grand jury prize, wisely favors the personal over the political, meriting impassioned responses wherever it plays.

Pic opens with aged Oregonian cancer patient Roger Sagner dying on camera after ingesting a lethal prescription dose of Seconal, then proceeds to focus on a handful of interviewed subjects, including euthanasia researcher and journalist Derek Humphry, who provides a modicum of historical context on the right-to-die movement. Silver-haired Curtis, articulate and immensely charming, earns the vast majority of screen time as well as the viewer’s total sympathy, her struggle evolving along with her disease. Richardson’s camera placement remains evocative all the way to the wrenching finale.

How to Die in Oregon

Production: An HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Peter D. Richardson production. Produced by Richardson, Jacqueline Glover. Executive producers, Sheila Nevins, Melody Korenbrot. Directed by Peter D. Richardson.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Richardson; editors, Greg Snider, Geof Bartz, Richardson; music, Max Richter; sound, Lance Limbocker; associate producers, Sophie Harris, Jordan Cumes. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 27, 2011. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: With: Cody Curtis, Roger Sagner, Randy Stroup, Nancy Niedzielski, Gordon Green, Derek Humphry.

More Film

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Layoffs Hit Fox After Disney Completes Deal

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

  • Laura Linney Cast in Viggo Mortensen

    Laura Linney Joins Viggo Mortensen's Family Drama 'Falling'

    Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and Terry Chen have joined the cast of Viggo Mortensen’s family drama “Falling.” The movie will be Mortensen’s directorial debut. He’s also producing, wrote the screenplay, and is playing one of the two leading roles in a story about a son’s relationship with his aging father. Production is currently underway in Toronto. [...]

  • Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Romcom 'Plus One'

    Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Rom-Com 'Plus One' Sells Ahead of Tribeca Premiere

    Romantic comedy “Plus One,” starring Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid, has sold to RLJE Films in a pre-emptive deal for low seven figures ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Plus One” is written and directed by Jeff Chan (“Adam Ruins Everything”) and Andrew Rhymer (Pregame). The film also stars Ed Begley, [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Walt Disney Studios Leaders Say Fox Deal Represents 'Exciting New Chapter'

    Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman are asking Fox staffers to be patient while the company begins the complicated work of integrating the two motion picture teams. Both men were on Fox’s Century City lot for meetings with executives. In a memo, Bergman and Horn said they would try to be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content