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Film Review: “We are Boats” (2018) ★★★


Life goes by, people live and people die. And then another one comes to the light. What can we do to leave behind something truly wonderful? The question here is not a fat check or a big house. It’s something that no amount of money could buy. Movies like “We are Boats” are real treasures capable of enlightening the life of one individual to show the purpose of life that nothing else could do. Indeed, some might say one single event can change the existence of an individual and that is not something I reject or dispute. And that event can be one stranger that appears only at a time when you need them the most.

Francesca (Angela Sarafyan) has one duty to fulfill – she must sail through the life of strangers she meets. Her purpose is to give them what they need – life, death, happiness, or fulfillment. Whatever the ending is, she is there to prepare them for an easy ride and she is willing to do that her entire life; her life that will last forever as long as she gets one opportunity to meet her honey bunny, her dear daughter which she lost the chance to see when Francesca lost her life.

The movie opens with a stranger, a man who already knew how his night will end. But out of curiosity, he wanted to check if he is capable of feeling anything else other than the pain that burns him from the inside. A woman, which happened to be Francesca, visits him. What we learn a minute later is that she is an escort when an old man pays her $300 but refused to get undressed. He reveals that he was there only to talk to her. Francesca does not seem to be surprised that much as she agrees to engage in a conversation with the man that had a different agenda in his mind.

The fact he soon learns that Francesca has a daughter does not change his mind when he picks up his loaded gun and pulls the trigger to send a bullet directly into Francesca’s stomach without hesitation. The second bullet was reserved for him when he finally does what he wanted – to kill first and get killed by a self-inflicted gunshot. That scene alone is quite stunning in itself because we realize, if not for Francesca’s ability to die multiple times (because she is already dead) and if she had not responded to the call that night, some other woman could have died instead.

This is when the movie begins, shaping an excellent form when the story begins slowly developing to tell us more about Francesca’s job. “We are not here to save lives. We are here to influence to have another option”, says Sir (Uzo Aduba) to Francesca, who is already done with her mission and can’t wait to see her daughter. But before her boss fulfills Francesca’s dream, the woman is set on a mission to save a few lives – to not intervene with the one that has already made their mind to end it, help a dying father to see the daughter he knew before, to ensure that the woman who just lost her husband to suicide won’t be the next. All these casual interactions, Francesca by entering one life after another makes a big difference.

Written and directed by James Bird, “We are Boats” is an extraordinary movie with an exceptional storyline that will make you think a lot. Through its thought-provoking narrative, it offers a delicate look at the life of one stranger that must navigate through the life of others, intervene with it if it’s necessary and help them when, in fact, nobody helped her when she died. We don’t know much about what really happened to Francesca. All that we know is that not every life is meant to be saved and hers was one of them. But through her emotionally charged job, she must do everything possible to save souls from being lost. Souls that you will meet throughout the film and maybe one sitting next to you because of its strong impact on people it may have in the best way possible.

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