3 Great Ideas in the Movie “Arrival”

the-arrivalThe movie,  Arrival is a newer movie that just came out in theaters on November 11, 2016.  From the picture and all of the trailers it seemed like this film was going to be about an alien invasion with non-stop action while human kind must fight to protect our home from invaders.

That couldn’t be further from the truth with this movie.  People flocked to see the film.  Theaters were sold out.  Viewers sat there anticipating…waiting…watching.  However, it was not an action movie.  We did not fight the visitors.   When the movie ended, the reaction from most of the audience was “I don’t get it” and “I’m lost” and “That was slow.”  Yet, from a small group of college students I heard “That was amazing.  What a powerful message.”  This is a film that is supposed to get you talking and stimulate thought.  The writers were so careful when they thought out this film, and they included some small elements of humor to lighten the heavy message.

Every work of art is different to each viewer.  So, this is my thoughts on the film.  Let me tell you three great ideas that I took away from this piece of art.

This part might contain some spoilers.  However, it might help you to understand the movie also.  Continue at your own risk. 

Time is not always linear.   The movie does not continue down a linear path.  Throughout the film, the main character, Dr. Louise Banks played by Amy Adams, has flashes of images and moments.  The images that she sees in the beginning of the film are actually moments that will happen at the end of the film.  The movie starts and ends with almost the same scene.  The writers do this very carefully and try to give hints to the viewer with the emphasis of the daughter’s name being “Hannah” which is the same forwards and backwards.  Which is the same for the movie.

Life is made up of moments.   In the movie the aliens do not communicate with sounds or a spoken language.   They communicate through images and visions.  In the film, Dr. Banks is a master of linguistics.  Her job is to communicate with the aliens.  Throughout the film Dr. Banks is seeing images and moments that have not happened to her yet.  When she is asked if she is OK, she says that she can’t explain it.  The alien visitors are showing her the future with moments of time.  Our life is made up of moments: good and bad.

The big question.   At the end of the movie Dr Banks asks the big question, “If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”  The images that the aliens were showing Dr Banks during the movie were both good and bad moments of her future.  They laid out her life for her, showed her the future and she was left with the choice.  The choice to change things or not.

Sometimes in life we want to get rid of all the bad or hard times that we have had to go through.  Yet, it is in those hard times that we grow.  A rubber-band is only useful when it is being stretched.  At times God allows us to go through rough patches because he is trying to build something in us.  Without that, we would not learn the lesson we needed to learn or become the person we need to be.

So the question remains:  If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?

Here are some links about Arrival:

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/arrival-2016   

http://www.signature-reads.com/2016/11/storys-source-the-idea-behind-arrival-starring-amy-adams/

4 Lessons I learned from the Hunger Games Trilogy

hgI know the Hunger Games books came out a while ago.  However, if you are like me and my family, you do not just read a good book or see a good movie only once.  In fact, you read the book or watch the movie several times.  You revisit your favorites quite often and each time you do, you find another nugget of wisdom or you notice something you did not notice the first couple times through.  It is a good idea to keep in mind that most stories have a deeper meaning or some unstated message just waiting to be discovered.  Of course, every reader or moviegoer can simply read or watch just for the entertainment of the story and then move on and forget about it all together.

I do not really thing that does the stories justice.  Every storyteller is trying to communicate a message to its audience.  The interesting thing is that the message can be different for person enjoying the story.  So, here is the four things that stuck out to me.

1. Everyone is watching:  In the story, when the tributes are in the arena, there are cameras everywhere and all the people in the districts watch the games on big screens throughout all the districts.  They are watching and waiting.  Waiting to see who will prevail.  Later in the story, after Katniss and Peeta both survive the game, President Snow informs Katniss that he will be watching them to make sure they are really in love.  Katniss then realizes that there are cameras everywhere: in the forest, in town, and in her own home.

You might think that no one is watching you.  Maybe you think you do not have an       influence on anyone.  That is not true.  No matter who you are, someone is always keeping an eye on what you do and what you say.  You have an influence either good or bad, positive or negative.  If you are a Christian, keep in mind that the world is always watching, waiting to see if you live what you say.  Do your words line up with your actions?

2.  Respect goes a long way:  At the beginning of the story, when Prim’s name is picked out of the bowl and Katniss, without hesitation volunteers her own life instead of her sister’s, the people of District 12 give the sign for respect.  Also, in one of the most touching parts of the story is when Rue dies.  Katniss is devastated.  She takes the time to put flowers on Rue’s body and sing a beautiful song.  Of course all the Districts watch this on the screens.  When she is done, she turns to the camera a makes the sign for respect.  That one thing, respect, starts the unity within some of the Districts.  When Peeta and Katniss go on their Victor’s Tour, the people in Rue’s District give Katniss the same sign for respect:  and it all starts.

Respect.  Such a small word packs a strong punch.  Being respectful does not mean you are weak.  It also does not mean that you have to agree with everything that someone does or says.  If you want to be respected, show respect.

3.  Hope is powerful:  In the book, President Snow is having a conversation with Seneca Crane.  President Snow tells Seneca that “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.”  Such a true statement.

Have you ever been upset or depressed about something and someone comes along and gives you some hope?  Hope is an anchor for your soul.  It is stronger that fear and it does not take much to make a difference.  Just a little bit of hope can change things.

4.  Laughter is the best medicine: In the book series, when they take Katniss’s family to District 13, she insists that they are able to bring her sister’s cat with them.  They permit it.  Of course, all the people underground in District 13 are tired and devastated.  Their homes and District have just been destroyed.  Prim’s cat gets restless and wants to play.  When everyone in the underground bunkers start watching the cat play, something changes.  They start laughing and it lightens the mood.

Proverbs 17:22 says:  A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  When you have a cheerful heart and a cheerful outlook on life, it will be evident. Don’t be so serious.  Most of the world is serious enough for everyone.  There is scientific evidence that laughing is good for you.  When you laugh, it actually causes a response in your body.  Studies have shown that when your body responds to laughter and your lightened mood, it has healing properties.

There are some great messages in this story.  It really makes me think about my life and the kind of person I want to be.  Since, people are watching my actions, I want to show respect, give hope, and bring joy and laughter to situations.

Is there a book, movie, or situation that made you think?  Did it give you some life lessons?  Tell us about your story.  We want to know.  Share it here.

Just One More

hacksawridgeteaserposter_2016june39-500x383I just recently watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge.  I went with my family and some friends.  To be honest, we were not anticipating much from the film.  All of us had heard some pretty bad reviews about it, so our expectations were rather low.  However, we love Mel Gibson and his other films, so we had to go see it.  The theater was packed.  Every seat was taken and there were even people trying to sit on the floor.  Interesting for a movie with such bad reviews.

(This section might contain some spoilers)                                                                                                    For those of you who do not know, Hacksaw Ridge is a movie based on the true life story of Desmond Doss and the events which took place on Hacksaw Ridge. In the film, Desmond Doss, because of his own personal convictions, will not touch a gun.  He intends on saving lives, not taking them.  They try to break him.  They beat him, send him to a psychiatrist, and threaten him with prison.  It does not work.  They can’t get him to sway from his beliefs.  He is labeled a coward.  When they finally get up on Hacksaw Ridge and all the action starts, he has a chance to prove his worth.  After some time fighting, his squadron retreats and everyone that can gets off the ridge.  Doss was trying to save the life of one of his fellow soldiers.  He dies and Doss is confused and broken.  He takes a moment to ask God what he wants from him.  He runs back into the kill zone to look for someone else to save.  He finds someone that is still alive, drags him to safety, and lowers him off of the ridge to soldiers at the bottom  of the cliff.  Right when he is finished he asks “Lord, please help me get one more.”   All night long, without sleep or food he runs back into the kill zone to save the life of one more person.  Exhausted, hungry, and hands raw from lowering wounded soldiers off of Hacksaw Ridge with a rope, he saves as many lives as he can.  By the end of the war Doss had become the strength of his squadron.  The next day the rest of the soldiers in his group would not continue without Doss’s prayer and blessing.  They went on to win the war.  At the end of the movie the entire theater was applauding the excellent film.

What an amazing story.  We were all surprised at what a great movie it was.  I started to think about how all of us can be heroes in our own way.  So many people do great things without any fanfare, applause, or sometimes desmond-doss-ceremonyeven a thank you.  Most of us will not be getting awards or medals of honor, at least here on Earth.  Every person is a story on an incredible journey.  Most likely a movie will not be made about the events in our lives.

I want to know what is your “Just One More” story.  Do you have a story to tell or do you know someone with an amazing story?  Tell it here.  Let’s all celebrate our wonderful journeys together.