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NY Times Review: The Way We Get By
Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
The Way We Get By
July 17, 2009
Changing Lives With a Simple Act of Service
By JEANNETTE CATSOULIS
Published: July 17, 2009
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."
THE WAY WE GET BY
Opens on Friday in Manhattan.
Written, directed and edited by Aron Gaudet; directors of photography, Mr. Gaudet and Dan Ferrigan; music by Zack Martin; produced by Gita Pullapilly; released by International Film Circuit. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 24 minutes. This film is not rated.