When you opened up this blog post, were you surprised to discover that I am writing about the Oscars? After all, isn’t that better discussed by TMZ or ET or any other of those celebrity gossip sites. I disagree. After all, good movies, just like good stories in the Bible, are spellbinding and give us a vivid glimpse of ourselves.
Let’s look at three of the movies that have been nominated for best picture this year.
Gravity gets my vote as the best picture because it captures so hauntingly a sense of being lost and cast adrift. In the movie, Sandra Bullock is an astronaut adrift in space, looking back at her world and wondering if she will ever find her way back to the blue planet she calls home. The movie is so well done, I almost felt like I was floating, terror stricken, in space.
So what does this movie tell us about ourselves? It tells us that all of us, at some point in our lives, will experience a time of being lost and of drifting aimlessly through life. When you were laid off from your job, did you experience moments of fear and anger, realizing that you had been cast aside and now are drifting through your days, seeking new employment. Or when your spouse left you, did you feel the agony of separation, knowing that the tether that held you was irretrievably broken and you were floating free and afraid about the new life you had to build.
Blue Jasmine, a Woody Allen movie, written and directed by him, chronicles the struggles of a woman trying to come to grips with her changed life circumstances as the wife of a wealthy property developer who has been jailed for fraud. Suddenly, her world is turned upside down and she is forced to live in a new, uncomfortable world—the world of the poor.
Woody Allen offers a searing script of heartbreak, desperation and greed. When Jasmine lived a life of luxury, she had little time or empathy for the poor. Ahhhh! How differently the world is turning now for her! Yet she continues to act with arrogance and disregard for those around her. How often are we guilty of the very same thing? And what does it take to embrace humility and compassion so that we might ease the suffering of those around us who are living in dire circumstances?
And, finally, along comes Philomena, a movie so rich and beautiful in character development that we are quickly swept up in the search for a boy who was given up at birth by his mother. The movie follows the winding path of Philomena as she seeks to find her son and re-connect with him. Philomena, brilliantly played by Judi Dench, refuses to give up searching for her lad. She inspires us and breaks our hearts all in the same moment. She rather reminds me of the Good Shepherd who went out into the night, searching for a lost sheep. She is inspirational, tenacious, refusing to abandon her search. She offers a role model for us, reminding us never to give up, especially when seeking light in an often dark world.
No wonder I am interested in the outcome of the Oscars!