They say when music hits you, you feel no pain. Chris Haighs' 2021 documentary Song For Hope - The Ryan Anthony Story shows that music is indeed an elixir of life that refills empty hearts and has the power to revive hope in all our souls.
This is because the documentary is based on the life of Ryan Anthony, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 12 months to live. An extremely talented trumpet player, Ryan does not sink into a pit of hopelessness and despair upon receiving those grim news.
Rather, he continues to find joy in the warmth of his lovely family and musical talents.
He even goes on to organize benefit concerts to raise funds for conducting medical research on cancer and possible treatments.
Named “Cancer Blows,” the first installment of Ryan’s benefit concert is so successful that Ryan’s foundation organizes another such event, two years later. Ryan’s comportment during this difficult period is immensely inspiring and clearly dissipates the gloom from an, understandably, otherwise depressing situation.
Song For Hope is a well executed project that absolutely surpasses expectations.
Firstly, the film successfully evades the curse of documentaries. It presents real stories with a dexterous and riveting finesse which keeps you fixated throughout its 80 minute runtime.
Secondly, Chris Haighs is a first-time director without extensive filming experience. For him to structure interviews detailing the struggles of cancer so vividly without making the film too dense to digest is a stroke of mastery that should and does earn the director plenty of credit.
Song For Hope - The Ryan Anthony Story is definitely not a blockbuster film and it isn’t meant to be one, either. Rather, the documentary offers viewers a beautiful and enlightening opportunity to witness the power of calm resilience and unwavering belief in times of tremendous adversity.
This is a film that we would not only recommend to documentary film lovers but to anyone who may be dealing with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Ryan’s positive outlook of life and his quiet but firm determination, will inspire you to sail through the roughest of tempests.