|Posted by Cobaltsoul on June 28, 2011 at 7:38 AM|
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
I just watched a great movie, but one that did not crack it big at the box office because it was a genre ambiguous movie.
This was a romantic movie, also a mythic movie and a theological movie. It was fast moving with plenty of chase scenes and that was how it was advertised, more a thriller than a romance.
Mythology is full ofstories of mere mortals challenging the “gods”. It is an important theme in our story telling history. This movie is in that lineage even though “the gods” are kept thoroughly low key and the movie tries to avoid any traditional theological interpretation of who or what the highest power is. This element of the movie is not well handled, not badly, but not with a real grasp of the pointlessness of being vague when telling this kind of mythic narrative. If you tell it well enough, the theological specifics you use become tertiary and the story carries the universal truths forward regardless of your narrative's particularity.
One man meets his full on soulmate, they both feel it. The powers once intended them to be together but the plan has been revised and now they should only meet for this one moment, then never meet again.
He discovers the Power's meddling and is convinced by them to let her disappear out of his life.
He tries to let her go but he cannot.
She is his “the one,the only” and she feels it too.
So, eventually, he challenges the Powers, willing to risk being wiped clean and reduced to an empty vessel in one all or nothing venture to be WITH her.
Their story resonates because so many of us have felt that feeling, that THIS one is THE one.
Their story resonates despite the fact that so many of us have felt that feeling and then discovered we were tragically wrong and THIS one was just a horrible mistake or a sad mistake or a failed chance or an unfortunate coincidence of mutually triggering wounds and family pathologies. Despite our experience of the pain that comes with believing in “soulmates” we go right on believing in them and hoping ours is just around the corner.
I suspect the hunger underneath this belief is the hunger to be “the one” for someone else and to feel ourselves absolutely surrendering to them, the freedom of self abnegation without care or fear, to feel that safe, that loved, that known, that welcomed, that embraced and penetrated. We hunger for absolute acceptance from one other. We desire to feel able to GIVE absolute acceptance to one other.
So, we believe in a soulmate.
The downside of that belief system is that it tends to be a system that relieves us of any responsibility to build something good, to choose well, to work for our lives. If our perfect soulmate is out there somewhere then all we need to do is find them and when we meet, it will go perfectly well from then on without any real effort from us. If it hasn't gone perfectly easily, then they were not our soulmate and we need to keep looking.
I think that might actually be possible, in a few small number of cases. If you grew up in a healthy family with lots of balanced affection and discipline, where both your parents were mostly balanced and mature in their adulthood and did not contaminate your young psych with serious warps and impossible needs and if the partner you meet had a similar family experience and it just so happens that the internal patterns that gave you and the internal patterns that gave your partner are mutually complementary and balanced, then you can merge together healthily, not loosing yourselves while still being thoroughly open and exposed to each other. It's a rare thing.
For most of us much more work is required.
I think it IS possibleto be richly fulfilled by the way another human being sees us, welcomes us and embraces us. I think it IS possible for them to behaving that experience from us at the same time we are having it from them. It's possible but it for most of us it requires SERIOUS work, on ourselves and on the relationship we are in.
The intimacy and fulfilment that is evoked in the idea of soulmates is something I still believe in and still anticipate experiencing in my life. I expect it will require hard work as part of it's ongoing realisation. Two people, together birthing the full goodness of their partnership into reality.
In the movie, the hero, and then his heroine when she realises she has a choice, decide to reject the simplicity of going with the flow and take the chance of fighting for what they believe can exist between them. In that sense they challenge the soulmate stereotype. It is not easy for them to be together and they are prepared to challenge even God (Not called that in the movie.) in pursuit of their own desired future. I think that is excellent theology. The movie is more subtle than most will appreciate, it implies that what can be seen as fate or predestination and used by some in power to force people into certain paths and roles is not as simplistic as all that, not even close. I think that also is excellent theology.
The movie is based on a Philip K Dick short story, so of course it would not fit into tidy little Hollywood genre patterns. It is a better movie for not trying to fit into such constricted pigeon holes. It is nicely balanced between character development and fast paced storyline, New York looks fantastic and adds huge wallops of character to the whole affair, the two leads are convincing and engaging and the unreal elements are so well handled you buy into them without noticing you just did. It is hugely romantic and seriously theological/philosophical simultaneously. This is one I will beadding to my dvd collection.