‘Clouds’ is an emotional, inspiring trip through the life of a late creator


Photo Courtesy of Disney

Shakinah Silverberg, Staff Writer

Zachary David Sobiech was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, at the young age of 14. He lived in Lakeland, Minnesota, and loved to write, perform and compose music. The film “Clouds, named after a song Zach wrote that touched the hearts of over 200 million people on iTunes, was released on Disney+ on Oct. 16. 


The movie begins by introducing the 18-year-old high school senior who enjoyed entertaining others and strived to make people happy. Early in the film, the viewers learn alongside Zach that his cancer has spread to his lungs and has become terminal. Zach decides to stop chemo and accept whatever comes his way. This sets an overtone of coming death that looms over both the cast and those watching the film. He questions what he wants to do with his, in the words of poet Mary Oliver, “one wild and precious life.” 


There are quite a few mentions of God and fate throughout the film, which gives deep insight into the thoughts of those who are close to death and others around him. Zach wonders what he did to deserve this, and his brother assures him that it’s not his fault, showing the strength of family. His mother takes him to France in an attempt to ease her own soul, hoping this would have the same effect on her son. Through this, Zach becomes more in touch with his music and goes on the path of creating music with his best friend. Together they create his most popular song, “Clouds.” 


Throughout the film, there are many sweet moments that allow both the characters and the audience to grow to love Zach. The last 30 minutes of the film are incredibly emotional as Zach, despite the trauma and hardships that he faces, decides that his legacy will be “the boy who went up fighting.” 


The decision to use Zach’s real name in the film was pivotal in keeping his legacy alive and that allowed me to connect to the person Zach was, not just the character they made him to be. After watching the film, I immediately went to listen to the official version of the song, and seeing his face as he recorded what he composed is truly beautiful. Through “Clouds, I was personally inspired to find what’s important in my life and to not waste time. From now on I will always remember, “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.”