What makes us want to watch movies? The fact that they reflect life, and the journey that every human has to undertake at some level in their lives, I guess. The basis for a film is wants, needs and character flaws. The main character has a specific flaw – it could be deep-rooted guilt, a need to lie, passive aggression, megalomania, fear of success, being a control freak. Whatever it is, they’re not facing it and they’re living their life and surviving (or so they think). They have something that they want.
Then something happens, and they’re started on a journey where their flaw trips them up all the time. Each time the stakes get higher and what they want seems further and further away. What they need is to face the flaw, acknowledge it and deal with it so they can change. This will allow them to have what they want.
Either they know from the start what they want, and in the end they get it, or they think they know, but as they deal with their flaw they realize they actually want something else. I saw this great film about a man who can’t stand up for himself. At work he’s a nonentity, nobody notices him. He’s a single father, with an independent, sassy daughter in her early teens. They love each other dearly.
He gets pushed around by the office bully in front of his daughter. It pushes him over the edge and he challenges the guy to a fight. Problem is, he can’t fight. But the whole office suddenly treats him like a hero so he learns to fight. They all take bets on the outcome.
Come the day of the fight his daughter doesn’t want him to do it. But he says he has to stand up to the bully. She’s very upset and angry with him, scared he’ll be demolished. She tells him she loves him no matter what. He doesn’t listen. He goes to the fight well prepared; he’s become a karate expert. The whole office is there. The bully is in the centre. Our man walks into the centre, confident. Faces the bully. Looks at the expectant crowd.
He realizes he doesn’t need to fight any more, because he knows his strength and that’s enough. Walks away. His daughter is watching. She’s so proud of him. They go off together laughing, happy. Free.
That’s my kind of story. The thing is, it’s the story of life, isn’t it? When we can’t access what we want, we can either say it’s because of everybody else, and what’s been done to us, and the state of the global economy, or the government, or the banks. Whatever, we can find plenty of reasons for why we can’t get what we want. But I believe the truth is that it comes down to our entitlement and self esteem. We can’t change the world, but we can face ourselves.
And strangely, when we do, we either see our way clear to getting what we’ve always wanted, or we realize it wasn’t what we really wanted anyway, because it’s been replaced by something of far greater value, something that we can now access. Not because the world changed, but because we did. We learned to respect ourselves.
When we do that, doors start opening. We’re able to be more focused on our work and that which we’re passionate about. We find workable solutions to material circumstances, we reach for help where we need it and we receive it without judgment. It’s exceptionally hard and painful to face the truth of what’s really holding you back, and it’s not a quick fix, either. But I believe that as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, that doing it brings reward.
Just like in the movies.