Archive for June, 2013
I have noticed there are a cluster of films, and songs, about breaking up, where it’s a good thing. I thought it would be interesting to look at the common themes in break-up movies. What is the take home message that is to make us a little bit wiser? First I want you to play the song by Kelly Clarkson “Stronger” to get you in the mood.
This is the heroic response to an ending. It says I am not a coward, I can be alone. Each challenge to my survival makes me stronger and more connected to myself and in particular my ability to push back the boundaries of my mortality. This is empowering.
I want to note that this works when you are talking to the ex. If you are looking for a good obstacle to love, however, it would be continuing this attitude in your new relationship. “I’m strong and independent. If you leave I will be fine. As a matter of fact leave and I’ll prove it.” This is a recipe for never finding happiness in love. Think about He’s Just Not That Into You. The women, and one guy, have to learn to recognize when someone is not seeing them for their intrinsic worth and simply give them the boot. You also have to be willing to be vulnerable and wear your heart on your sleeve when the right guy comes along.
Then there is the tough girl who has been hurt and was strong enough to get out. What she doesn’t know how to do is to admit she has been victimized by the experience and take the time to restore her healthy entitlement to love – that she doesn’t have to be tough all the time, or accept being treated badly and live with the high drama of a bad boy. To go into her next relationship she has to move her internal world from Victim to Virgin again. Whatever happened hurt. How can the protagonist be open and vulnerable and receive what a new guy has to offer? This is the theme of Veronica Mars (great tv show – I hope the rumors are true that it will be a movie) and Pretty Woman.
When a bad thing happens our inner victim feels things like “why is it nothing goes my way” or “what did I do to deserve this?” This quest for meaning needs a place to be expressed (I like journaling and whining with my girlfriends). Once it is made tangible it can be address. If the victim feeling is denied or suppressed, and let’s face it, nobody wants to admit their shadow side, it will sneak up and bite you when you don’t expect it. Can you say self-sabbotage? Hey, that sounds like Hitch.
I saw Warm Bodies last night and it is a delightful romantic-horror with unexpectedly normal moments (is this a new genre?). It reminded me of the comedy-horror An American Werewolf in London from the ’80’s. Remember that one? The film is fun to watch just for the humanizing moments when the boy-corpse tries to pull it all together to impress the girl. It is relatable and yet he has so much more to overcome than the normal awkwardness. I was inspired by his drive to carry on against near impossible odds.
The really revolutionary concept of this film, however, is that rising conflict and war is not the answer to the problem. ‘Allow the power of love to infuse all that you do’ is the take home message I got (with a battle against the skeletons on the side). It feels like we are finding entry into a whole new world.
It kind of reminds me of Avatar where Jake Sully goes to infiltrate the Na’vi culture and learns he is more at home with the alien love-driven culture than his own fear-based world. Then there is a big fight section to protect the rights of the Na’vi. Again, a love-driven plot with a fight scene chaser.
Are we in a transition phase where film makers are considering the possibility that there is a plot beyond the heroes journey? The fight scenes are still there but the hero ideal is not consuming the plot. Love as a driver is finding a bigger place in action films.
Warning: if you care about continuity this film will bug the heck out of you. They establish rules of the world like Zombies walk slowly, dragging their feet and next thing you know they are in major chase scenes and holding their own. They walked from the walled city to the zombie home in an afternoon and it took two days in a car to get back. I decided this was part of the off-beat nature of the film. It’s like they don’t care! How original.