I wrote about the freedom you feel when, like Kitty in Anna Karenina, you find what’s most important- what you would give everything for- and how that gets everything in line and gets you moving again. When you find that out, you can easily give up most things and you can have the courage to give up harder things when called upon. I think of the story of Aron Ralston in the movie 127 hours: that’s an intense version of what you would sacrifice to be able to move again and live! Here’s hoping that everyone finds what is most important in 2019!
I’ve read several reviews and I won’t try to express what these reviewers have already expressed eloquently and powerfully.
Still, I will add something that the major reviews I’ve read have overlooked. The great hope in the end of the movie is acknowledgment of fatherhood. This is the power of the movie: that we need to take responsibility and atone for our sins is critical (and movingly conveyed throughout the movie), but the vital ending shows us how so many of us, through a lack of courage or lack of true self esteem, also aren’t able to take responsibility for the beauty we’re a part of- further, when innocence is lost and evil has stolen your voice, it is that beauty that will speak for itself, if only we are, like Ronsel, faithful enough to acknowledge it!
The bad feelings welled up in me when the shell-shocked soldier, who struggling to flee more horror and death had mortally wounded a young man, later asked the dead man’s friend if the wounded man was ‘all right.’ The shell-shocked soldier didn’t know the young man was dead below deck. When the dead man’s friend pauses I felt his internal struggle and I lost it in my own mind- the struggle when evil starts to misguide your passions; when he replies ‘yeah’ it was a revelatory lighting bolt- the wisdom and the mercy of it. The dead man is all right if you have faith in heaven and grace, or even if you have faith in the rippling effects of sacrifice and heroism. More than that, by releasing the shell- shocked soldier from that burden, the soldier may live again.
I watched A Man Called Ove and I really enjoyed it- but I think what’s stuck with me the most is the neighbourhood. There is a parking facility that looks like a bunch of storage units, and everyone walks from there to their homes (and Ove relentlessly and emphatically regulates this part- yelling at anyone who drives down the walking paths).
It’s not the generous welfare state or the homogeneous society that makes Scandinavia by many measurements a better place to live than North America- it’s these neighbourhoods! Well on the aesthetic level (often connected to more important levels) the houses look so much better. I think many homes in North America look like storage units because the garage is the focal point of the building front and center. The areas out front of the houses are safer for children and pets to play because cars aren’t whizzing around. People have to walk from the communal garages and a walk is probably the best thing for your health, and then they’re walking in their community seeing their neighbours. I think the communal mailboxes in Canada have less of the same effect, though.
It was entertaining and had a couple of the best actors around right now. I also thought it very moving that in a science fiction war movie the only scene with blood was the most tender and the most religious– faith and friendship.
John Candy makes you laugh- and then smile once you’ve stopped laughing- that’s a kind of comedy in short supply!
The man with no name is a force that blows into a town. The physical effects of the man with no name are the moral and psychological effects of sin and vice, selfishness, cowardice, as well as virtue. He wreaks havoc and people suffer and die or find help and strength to free their souls and live fully. The story ends with a restoration of peace and moral order, like the ending of a detective story.