Director Ondi Timoner captures her father Eli Timoner’s final wish; to end his life on his terms.
Eli spent his life as a hugely successful entrepreneur and creator of Air Florida until a stroke and subsequent accident paralyzed him, and the board pushed him into early retirement. After forty years of struggling and pain, Eli expresses his desire to die.
Bedridden, he must pass the hurdles in California for a doctor to approve his request. During the fifteen-day process, Ondi films the Timoner family and Eli’s heartfelt goodbyes to his closest friends via Zoom. His words overflow with fondness and affection. He imparts personalized wisdom to his grandchildren as the days count down.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is that Eli’s daughter Rachel is a Rabbi. Their Jewish faith comes into play through rites and songs that captivate with their mesmerizing beauty.
I chose to leave religion behind after eight complicated years of Catholic school, but the practices of Judaism seem like a beautiful way to worship.
Ondi balances a cinema-verite style with genuine intimacy. It is easy to imagine oneself in the Timoners’ shoes. Last Flight Home respects its subject and allows us to feel that we are part of the family.
When Eli’s time comes to an end, each family member holds his hand, attentively listening while wrestling with their inner turmoil of impending loss, but always respecting the patriarch that sacrificed and cherished each one of them until his final breath. The entire experience has a reverence, and the honesty of the Timoner family amazed me. Last Flight Home will forever change you.