Films in general have a story line, but this one also has a message; it is a fable based on the ideal that wealth does not necessarily bring happiness. In this film Jason struggles to find his purpose in life.
‘The ultimate gift’ opens in an unusual fashion with Red a self made billionaire grandfather who is terminally ill, explaining by means of a film the legacy he has left to his indulgent and self-centred grandson. Instead of the expected cash, there are twelve tasks described as ‘gifts’ contained in a sealed box. These tasks have to be completed to meet the high standard of his loyal lawyer and friend, Mr Theopillis, before Jason can receive the ultimate gift, which is the true gift.
Following Red’s death there is a reading of his will which is carried out with respect by the lawyer while the only interest of the family is to waste as little time as possible and collect their share of the wealth. When the will is read out each of the family members go away unhappy, feeling cheated. In the case of Jason who does not feel he will get anything, Reds key objective is to turn his spoilt and idle grandson into a loving, caring man.
He moves towards this goal by way of twelve difficult tasks, overseen by some of Red’s friends, but mainly by Mr Theopillis. He is first task is to go to Texas ranch to find satisfaction to be found through hard work. Later, he befriends a girl named Emily who is suffering from leukaemia and her unmarried mother. He finds that money can be used to help people but it cannot be used to buy friends. He also finds that true friends come at no price.
Gradually he changes from being selfish and self- absorbed to being happy and more successful person. He also falls in love with Emily’s mother Alexis.
In the film there are five main characters. Red Stevens who is played by James Garner is the main character around whom the film revolves. On his death Red lives a will in which his assets are to be shared amongst his family. Red knows that with the exception of Jason, his family do not love him only his money. He therefore gets Mr Theopills his lawyer to help Jason discover himself.
Bill Cobbs, plays Mr Theoplills, an African-American lawyer. Although acting mainly as a lawyer, Red and him are old friends. His role is to carry out the will. This mainly involves getting Jason to carry out the twelve tasks and giving Jason the rest of the inheritance.
Ali Mills, plays Alexia an attractive unmarried mother to Emily who is dying of leukaemia. Alexia is seen as a good and loving mother who is trying to the best for Emily. Alexia is also poor and does not have money to pay the hospital bills.
Abigail Bresslin plays Emily Rose a young girl dying of leukaemia, who sees Jason as a possible partner for her mother. She befriends Jason in the hope that he will marry her mother. Emily is not aware of the link between Red and Jason.
Drew Fuller plays the main character Jason. Jason starts out as a spoilt ungrateful grandson living off his grandfather’s money. He is selfish and uncaring. Later as he goes through the tasks he develops into a loving caring person. He develops from looking only for himself to looking out for others.
This film has used various camera shots, angles and lighting. Use has been made of long shots showing the whole scene to show what the characters are doing and close up shots to show the facial features. Lighting to show the time of the day and also mood of the characters. These film effects have been added by the background sound effect. For example, loud exciting music for adventure and soft smooth songs for mood/atmosphere.
Michael O Sajbel has directed a film that will appeal to all age groups. The main message of the film is that money does not buy happiness. What bring happiness are the twelve gifts ranging from work to love. I really enjoyed this film and feel everyone should see it. You don’t want to miss the Ultimate Gift.