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The Stages of Death in The Movie The Bucket List

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The movie The Bucket List by Justin Zackham written in 2007 is a movie that demonstrates the 5 stages of dying. The five stages of death denial,anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The movie plays two terminally ill men, Carter Chambers and Edward Cole. They hope to accomplish many things on their bucket list before their death. But unfortunately they have t go through the five stages of death because they are terminally ill and have cancer.

The first part of the movie the stage denial can be seen happening. Carter Chambers is in his hospital bed and he is asked what is he doing there. He says that he is fighting for his life. His words show that he desires to live and it shows that he is denial because his life is coming to an end soon. Even though he is slowly dying he did not directly say this because he is still in the hospital bed but still has hope. Moreover, denial is shown with shock and displaced hostility. For example, Edward Cole, a corporate billionaire, shows his anger through displaced hostility.

For his stage of denial he also shows anger throughout his denial. Edward verbally abuses Thomas and this shows that people who are near death try to forget about the pain and use that anger to take it onto someone else. Edwards anger show that he is trying to hide his anxiety about his terminal cancer. Edwards anger go in hand with his denial. He is in a denial and he is angry about it. However his roomate Carter Chambers is more relaxed about this situation. Even though Carter himself is in denial too he hardly shows anger at the hospital staff. Instead Carter is handling his denial internally.

Next, the following stage that follows denial and anger is bargaining. In the stages of death, bargaining is an attempt to negotiate with whoever has some control over the situation. At this stage they are desperate and they will do whatever it takes to fix their problem. In the Bucket List, the bargaining stage happens when Carter’s Cancer turns into metastasis. He attempts to bargain and asks the doctors if his terminal cancer can be treated with surgery. Furthermore, the next stage is that happens is depression. Depression happens because the person is eventually accepting the fact that they will die soon. People will feel sad and regret that they are dying soon. In this stage a person might face a type of depression called preparatory According to VeryWellHealth, this type of depression is where the person deals with knowing the fact that they will lose everything and everyone they love. Most people will spend this time of grieving in quiet thought as they prepare themselves for such complete loss.

Finally, the last stage of death is acceptance. The person has came to their final stage and has to find ways to accept their terminal illness and losses. In the movie, Edward and Carter finally reach acceptance at the end of the movie. Carter finally reaches out to his wife and family. He visits them at their house and spends time with them. Instead of racing around the world to escape his cancer, he finally decided that he wanted to at home with his family.

On the other hand, Edward reaches his acceptance when he finds out that Carter accepted his fate. He finally decides that he will visit his daughter that he had fallen off with years before. He had wished to forget about their differences but never really did until after he had reached the final stage of acceptance. In this stage they forget about what they had been dealing with prior with their families and instead decide to spend time with them.

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The Stages Of Death In The Movie The Bucket List. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 17, 2022, from
“The Stages Of Death In The Movie The Bucket List.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
The Stages Of Death In The Movie The Bucket List. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Aug. 2022].
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