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The Way We Get By: Special Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The SXSW Special Jury Award winning The Way We Get By is a deeply moving film about life and how to live it. Beginning as a seemingly idiosyncratic story about troop greeters - a group of senior citizens who gather daily at a small airport to thank American soldiers departing and returning from Iraq, the film quickly turns into a moving, unsettling and compassionate story about aging, loneliness, war and mortality.

When its three subjects aren't at the airport, they wrestle with their own problems: failing health, depression, mounting debt. Joan, a grandmother of eight, has a deep connection to the soldiers she meets. The sanguine Jerry keeps his spirits up even as his personal problems mount. And the veteran Bill, who clearly has trouble taking care of himself, finds himself contemplating his own death. Seeking out the telling detail rather than offering sweeping generalizations, the film carefully builds stories of heartbreak and redemption, reminding us how our culture casts our elders, and too often our soldiers, aside. More important, regardless of your politics, The Way We Get By celebrates three unsung heroes who share their love with strangers who need and deserve it.

Review

"Filled with a rare honesty and intimacy that makes for a rewarding film experience." --Gary Goldstein, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"The Way We Get By is not so much a slice of life as the whole pie, the highs and lows of twilight living, all found and filmed in a terminal at an airport in Maine. What a country." --Dan Zak, WAHINGTON POST

Unfailingly modest and profoundly humane, The Way We Get By profiles three people over 70 whose lives have been changed by a simple act of service: greeting troops at Bangor International Airport in Maine.

For the last six years, Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy and Joan Gaudet (the mother of the film's writer and director, Aron Gaudet) have welcomed and bade adieu to almost a million grateful soldiers and Marines. Offering handshakes and hugs, candy and free phone calls, the greeters volunteer around the clock, often rising in the wee hours and in treacherous weather.

"It puts a little meaning back into my life," says Mr. Knight, 87, a World War II veteran who can no longer afford to feed his beloved cats. For Mr. Mundy, 74, the vocation eases the pain of his son's death many years earlier, while Ms. Gaudet, 75, whose eight children are busy living their own lives, admits she would "be lost" without the airport routine. As the three wage their own private battles - with illness, loneliness and crippling debt - the director slowly extrapolates a portrait of society's overlooked: those whose compassion reflects an awareness that death is more than an abstraction.

Neither pro- nor antiwar (unlike many cable-news ideologues, Mr. Gaudet and his subjects easily distinguish between the troops and their mission), this fine, affecting film perfectly exemplifies Milton's famous claim: "They also serve who only stand and wait." --Jeannette Catsoulis, NEW YORK TIMES


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Gaudet, William Knight, Gerald Mundy
  • Directors: Aron Gaudet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00404DMM0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I saw this movie when it was playing in New York City and have anxiously awaited it's arrival on DVD. After one viewing I knew it was a "must-have" for my, or anyone's home collection. The film starts out as a sweet story about a group of elderly citizens at an airport in Maine who greet our military personnel as they deploy to and head home from the war overseas. One of the main characters friendly yell of "WELCOME HOME HEROS!" is often the first thing soldiers hear when they return to US soil. We are quickly and effectively introduced to three of the greeters. Bill, Joan, and Jerry are revealed as caring, likable, yet complex characters. The filmmakers many talents are evident throughout this beautifully shot documentary. Skilled camera work, combined with a compelling story are the foundation. However, the greatest gift the filmmaker's provide is the amazing access they gain, not just into their characters homes and lives but more importantly into their psyches. Like many great films this movie transports us to a time and place that few of us have ever seen. Life over 65 has never been examined in such truthful detail. Intimate conversations about love, loss and fear are revealed with remarkably genuine honesty. These heartfelt and profound discussions are unlike anything I have ever seen on film (documentary or fiction). This unflinching look at the elderly in our country is raw, even uncomfortable at times, but each character also brings a sense of humor, and an unwavering will to live that is truly inspirational. The film never turns preachy, yet I felt truly enlightened by the example set by these three unassuming heros.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
The Way We Get By The Way We Get By

Real Americans in 'The Way We Get By'
By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer Published-Friday, Oct. 2, 2009

Their first contact with U.S. soil is the single asphalt runway at Bangor International Airport in Maine. The first citizen they see is often Bill Knight, posture stooped, pushing 90, wearing his World War II veteran cap, pumping the hand of every service member who deplanes after tours of Iraq or Afghanistan. Knight, troop greeter at this gateway airport, is one of three senior citizens who are profiled, challenged and honored by "The Way We Get By," a lyrical documentary guaranteed to jerk tears and tug hearts over and over during its tight, haikulike 86 minutes.

No one comes home in a body bag. There are no dusty dispatches from Baghdad or Helmand province. There are no protests. There is no rhetoric. It's not that kind of war documentary. "The Way We Get By" is about three people, not about military or political combat. It strikes a deep, rich vein of emotion that flows through America's elderly, and it should be required viewing for those who think they know exactly what America is about.

Bill Knight, Joan Gaudet and Jerry Mundy (average age: 78) are dream subjects for a documentarian. They have the right mix of sass and wisdom and are naturals in front of a camera. They greet military transport planes that land at the airport, sometimes arriving at 4 a.m. with bright smiles and warm hugs, and they grapple with the rubs of old age at home. Knight, a widower with cancer, staves off a creeping loneliness in a farmhouse overrun with cats and empty cans of Alpo.
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Format: DVD
The Way We Get By paints a stunning portrait of three older people who have selflessly donated so much of their time, day and night, over the last six or more years to greeting soldiers returning home from serving overseas. They sometimes have to say farewell to troops leaving for war-torn areas as well. On a deeper level, however, the film meaningfully explores the universal issues of mortality and aging; this makes the picture a standout because many of us, understandably, don't always think as much about these things as we should. After all, it can be painful to deal with mortality, aging and war, but this film doesn't hurt feelings the way it might have if it had been in less capable hands. Director/writer Aron Gaudet sensitively and brilliantly deals with these themes in this film; and that's wonderful. The story line of this documentary will move you greatly as it moved me; and I cannot help but admire the magnificent way in which we get to get to know the three senior citizens who have volunteered to meet and greet the troops at the airport in Bangor, Maine. In addition, the cinematography works great and the flow of the film is just right; the editing couldn't have been better.

Specifically, the three seniors we meet and come to know are Joan Gaudet, William Knight and Gerald Mundy. Joan, an elderly widow, retains a feisty personality. Despite her having to take seventeen pills a day of prescription medication, we see Joan driving to the Bangor airport at all hours of the day or night and she scarcely ever complains. William, a rather lonesome elderly man who misses his late wife as well as his time in the military, also routinely makes it to the airport despite his cancer.
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