“Clouds”: Zach Sobiech’s story

“Clouds,” a movie based on the true story of Zach Sobiech, follows the inspiring process of how he wrote his viral song while battling cancer.


Aizlynn Thim

At each Clouds Choir event, participants can buy a t-shirt to wear during the sing-along. This design is from the 2019 t-shirt.

Around this time of year, my family and I start listening to Christmas music, which might make some people deem us as crazy. Along with songs about the holidays and the winter season, we added a song called “Clouds” by Zach Sobiech to our playlist a few years ago. Sobiech wrote and recorded the song in 2012, and it didn’t take long for the song to go viral. It topped the iTunes charts just days after its release. 

A few years ago my family attended an event at the Mall of America hosted by KDWB: the Clouds Choir. It started off with a Christmas carol sing-along, and then at the very end, then everyone sang Sobeich’s song as a tribute to his life. Now, in 2020, a bittersweet film devoted to Sobiech’s journey has become a must-watch for his fans. 

“Clouds,” the movie, followed Sobiech’s journey as a song writer and a cancer patient. He had beaten his Osteosarcoma before, but as a teen, he received the diagnosis that chemotherapy was no longer treating his illness, therefore making it terminal. Sobiech’s incredible story is unbelievably sad and remarkably inspiring. If the movie accurately portrays the memory of Sobiech, then both the movie and Sobiech are lights in “dark and lonely holes.” Throughout the movie, Sobiech used humor to keep his family’s and friend’s spirits lifted; however, he is only human, so he had his dark moments too. 

As I sat on my couch, curled up in a blanket with a box of tissues nearby — just in case — I couldn’t help but smile at Sobiech’s jokes myself. The few scenes that showed a raw side of Sobiech during difficult moments also captured my attention, and I could feel these parts in my gut. I didn’t know Sobiech, but I knew of him. Watching this movie made Sobiech, an idol, into a real person.

Have you watched the new “Clouds” movie on Disney+ ?

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Every teenager gets excited about relationships and Prom in high school. Sobiech was no different, which was a concept I hadn’t stopped to think about before watching his movie. Sobiech, having cancer and fame, was unique. He experienced many of the normal teenage cliches, as well as far too many hospital visits and not enough spotlight. Because Sobiech was becoming sicker with each day, he was unable to make it to his Prom. His family and friends banded together and came up with a solution that I had only ever seen in fictional TV shows. They invited the whole school, the whole community, to join them at Sobiech’s concert at the Metropolitan that doubled as his one-of-a-kind Prom. Sobiech was an extraordinary man who deserved extraordinary measures. 

The end of the movie featured real-life clips of Sobiech and his loved ones and clips from the movie making process. Viewers saw the comparison of who Sobiech really was and filmmakers best attempts to recreate his memories. I thought it was pretty accurate, and it was heartwarming to see the genuine and authentic Zach Sobiech. The collage of clips was one of my favorite parts of the movie, but up there with it, of course, was actor Sobiech’s Metropolitan performance of his hit song “Clouds.” This scene was moving, heartbreaking, and inspiring at all once, just like his song.

In “Clouds,” Sobiech learns how to prioritize and find meaning in his life with the short time he is given. It is tremendously influential and perspective altering for viewers and I highly recommend watching this lovely film. Word about the movie has spread, and even those who did not know about Sobiech and his song are watching the new release. I’ve gone to several KS95 Clouds Choir events and loved them already, yet watching this movie fuels my excitement to be a part of another. For now, I will enjoy listening to “Clouds”, the song, and cherishing my new-found appreciation for life.