Anl. Swiss Army Man and its Themes

I knew I would love Swiss Army Man from the moment I saw the trailer. Granted, I adore Radcliffe and Dano, but I also loved the tone of the story in previews. What I didn’t expect was a movie  that was so moving and heartbreaking.

Freedom and Innocence

Essentially, the film communicates plenty of messages regarding freedom, as symbolized by farts. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes, we need simple ways to convey deep messages.

The way Manny is unrestrained and open is admirable. It’s what literally gets him places. While I partly consider Hank is projecting a bit onto Manny, I do think that his friend reflects his conflicts regarding freedom of expression.

Openness is reiterated throughout the story as Hank teaches Manny about various aspects of life: relationships, emotions, sexuality, pleasure, and self awareness.

Sexuality

Speaking of which, I loved how sex was explored in this movie. It was not a shameful, gross, or primal thing. I am torn regarding how Manny’s penis was used as a compass, because it can be foreshadowing for  Hank’s attachment to Sarah.

On the other hand, the relationship between sexuality and Hank’s stalking relates to innocence because I don’t find Hank and Manny creepy as people. They don’t fetish-ize Sarah or women in general. They don’t turn Sarah into a fantasy. It’s more of a coping mechanism for both of them.

Friendship and Acceptance

Through Manny’s questions, Hank is able to unfold different issues he has. For instance, he talks about his mother’s death and his inability to do things that pleasure him (through the masturbation and sex symbolism).

Hank tries to teach Manny about what is acceptable and what is not as Manny posits that perhaps it’s okay to feel caged by these expectations.

Montages depict their developing friendship, particularly when they reenact the bus scenario.

Not so Much

However, what it boils down to is that while we may think of these things, they can be punishable by society. It pains me to see that ending, but I didn’t expect Manny to survive in a world where his farts wouldn’t be accepted and, by extension, his innocence wouldn’t be accepted.

The closer Manny and Hank get, the closer to civilization they find themselves.

Ultimately, it is a fun and thought-provoking story that I am glad to have on DVD to rewatch and analyze.

Your Turn

What is the latest most challenging story you have been exposed to? How did you come to terms with it? Please share in the comments!

 

For More:

 

–“Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe” 

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MR: Dear Eleanor

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie’s mother as she prepares for a speech to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt to a room of 200 people. Heartbroken and reeling, she retreats further into herself and feels resentful. Her best friend Max (Max the Wax) writes to Mrs. Roosevelt and shares Ellie’s story. From there, a road trip happens and the two are off to see the former first lady. Hilarity and sweetness ensue.
Characters Delight

I have to say that this movie was absolutely delightful. The scenery was great: almost dream-like.  The characters vivid and animated, particularly Max. I adored Max’s innocence, her childlike wonder, her love for films, her willingness to dream and let others follow their dreams (in fact, she helps Ellie, Frank, and Aunt Daisy achieve their goals, no matter how far-fetched they were). I felt too close to Ellie. She was a bit dark and tortured, which is understandable. I could relate to her loss, and I think that her character was honest and real. I think as someone with mental illness, I kind of try to be more of a Max–happy, energetic, chatty, friendly. She is everything I cannot manage to do without exhaustion and, to be truthful, Max never gets tired of being this way, it’s inspiring and heartbreaking to know that I would never manage to pull it off. So, I am left admiring her, really.

Aunt Daisy was a dream. We didn’t get to see much of her, but the few moments with her are beautiful. I love that she wasn’t perfect. She was scared and different. I like the contrast between her and the other dancers: there she was, dressed in pink tutu and bodice. Meanwhile, the other dancers were in street clothes, black and white mostly. She stood out in the most endearing way ever.

Relationships and Friendships

The relationship between Ellie and Max is beautiful. One pushes the other to grow up (emotionally, sexually, in terms of identity and attitudes towards life) while the younger girl teachers her to maintain a positive view of the world and its inhabitants, to believe the best of people, to forever accept others as they are. It’s great that these two girls never feel jealous of each other. It is a story where women help each other out, support each other, love one another, and that makes it absolutely divine to see. I am happy that I have this little film. I hope you check it out, and feel inspired, too.

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About Time

There are things in my life that were constant. One of them was a fascination with time. I never liked time traveling stories, though, because it was something I could not comprehend. Time was complicated and cruel. It made me feel not only used, but empty, trashed, in fact. It feels like time mocks us all. It certainly has not played fair for me, especially the past four years. They have passed so quickly and yet so slowly. It is a paradox, I know. Too often, there were days where I just felt breathless–lifeless, if I am being honest.

So, when I watched a movie about a time traveling man, I was surprised that I loved it. “About Time” is a wonderful story about appreciating life as it comes. It is about relishing things thrown our way and not losing a pep to our step. Not ever. Even despite the losses, the pain, the awful days we experience sometimes, it is important to always try to be graceful. Try to be happy and full of love. For me, as someone with depression, I think this is difficult to accomplish, but not impossible. Maybe if I step outside the haze of sadness and grab life by the coattails, I’d be up for a happier time on this earth. Honestly, the movie was so, so beautifully made.

I think, there is something else to consider from this film, which is that love is a wonderful force to behold. Romantic love comes when we least expect it, and sometimes we love people who are not good for us (Like Kit-Kat’s situation or Charlotte). Sometimes, we think we’re in love, but we really aren’t. I have never been in love, so I don’t know what that is like. I cannot speak of what I do not know. However, I can only imagine what that might be like. And, yes, it sounds tricky. It is like trying to bottle up a rainbow or something. The neat thing is that Tim loves his family, too, and he does not forget about them after falling in love. Instead, Mary is integrated into the family very quickly.

One more thing about time travel from this film: it is not necessary. It is not important to impress people. Those who love us do love us completely (I hope so, at least). There is no need to perform an act or two to make good impressions. Being earnest and honest is more worthwhile.  There will always be people who do not like us. It is fine. I know, it is so much easier to say this than actually accomplish it. I may kick myself in the face (somehow) for saying this. Mostly, though, I am appreciative of the lesson.Strongly recommend watching the film. It is one of my favorites for sure.

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Love, Rosie

If you ever want to experience a love story, a beautiful one at that, read on. I watched Love, Rosie because the trailers were just breathtaking. A story of two people missing each other over and over can be exhausting, but it is not the case for this film. It is a lovely story about two friends, best friends, who are not sure if there is more to their relationship than platonic love.

And, they go through relationships with other people, longing for each other, trying clasping hands and staying together in some form or another. The relationships are not negative in any way; there was no demonizing of anyone. I mean, there was cheating involved, but it did not make the people seem like bad people. They just didn’t work as a couple. That’s life.

Maybe this is why the film means so much to me: it is one of the few films that deal with my age group without making us sound like boring people. You don’t stop having feelings after you are eighteen. Unfortunately (or not), that is not how it works. Heartbreak is still a thing. Trust issues, clarity, confusion, agendas: these are all things we see in the film. We see what it means to find a soul mate, no matter what the age, no matter how quick it can happen.

There’s crying in this film; there is heartbreak, obviously, but there is also joy and beautiful, beautiful cinematography. Wonderful acting is another positive aspect of this film.

Guess what, though? I would not recommend the novel. It drags on and on. Just watch the beautiful film and enjoy a love story that doesn’t depress you.

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Dreams & Destruction: Inception

There are two other ways many mentally ill patients, or traumatized individuals, deal with their overwhelming feelings: dreaming and construction. Like I have said before, this is not “sadness,” this is energy coursing through veins urging, moving a person. Inception is a story essentially about a team of “dream hackers,” who try to implant an idea to help a wealthy man stay wealthy. I think this is the simplest explanation without any spoilers.

Things to Love About this Film and How it deals with Trauma, Dreams, Creation, and Destruction as Coping Mechanisms:

1. Nolan is careful to point out something that I was so happy to see: when you create worlds, it’s a very complex process. Dreaming is not easy—especially for those who are traumatized. We see that Cobb his subconscious knows, the people in the dream will look at him and they know that the world is wrong.

2. We see a lot of preparation, planning, and frustration. Unlike Sucker Punch’s Snyder, Nolan does not pretend that the dream world, or implanting an idea (inception) is easy.

3. This gives dreams a whole new weight. What we dream, whether literally in our sleep or when we are awake, consciously can lead us to a conclusion and then an idea that can ultimately change our lives.

4. We see that this is a team effort and that, even in “dreams,” we have fights and full on wars to fight. I like that a person can protect their dreams, have some sort of security—all while you’re sleeping, you can have armies defending your secrets and fears. Our dreams say so much about us…

5. The leads me to Cobb’s trauma issues with Mal (come on dude, look at her name!). Dreams, the worlds we create—projects, jobs, friendships, families (“in real life” or “in our sleep”) can be the death of us

7. Female empowerment, thank goodness: essentially the story begins and ends with women—Mal, the woman who locked away her “reality check” tool (which I thought was a cool addition, by the way) and started to confuse which world was which. Ariadne is an architect, but she soon becomes a creator of worlds; however, she learns not to put herself in them too much. We never learn a thing about her, Arthur, Eamus, or our awesome Yusuf.

8. The film’s artistry essentially taught (hopefully) people to dream and (de)construct to deal with issues.  We all have the power to create. It’s the restraints we place on ourselves, the rules.
Dream Away…

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