We’ve watched a few enjoyable movies lately. The thing that struck me most about all of them is that they presented an ethical message – a practical purpose for the narrative.
- Take This Waltz: (Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen); Williams’ character writes for a tourism agency and her husband is a budding chef. The movie follows her through marital and personal doubt. The characters and their anxieties are easy to identify with and the message is an important one. I also really enjoyed the cinematography. If you prefer to avoid sexual content and nudity, you should be aware that there is plenty in the film. You should watch it anyway.
- Bernie: (Jack Black); Bernie is the (sort of) true story of a beloved citizen of a small Texas town. I know my description is vague, but I went into it having no idea what it was about and I think that made everything much more exciting. I love Jack Black, and this role, although comedic, is more nuanced than many roles he’s played. It reminds me of a short story we read in my Narrative Ethics class; it does an excellent job of exposing how thoroughly narrative can alter our worldviews.
- The Five Year Engagement: (Jason Segel, Emily Blunt); The film was written and produced by Segel. As the title suggests, the narrative rests on the premise of a five year long engagement, examining why engagements can last such a long time and how they affect a couple. It’s a comedy, but like most contemporary comedies, it has a fair dose of trauma and desperation. The film offers a similar message to Take This Waltz.
It’s refreshing when filmmakers understand their role in creating and informing our morality. All three films are contemplative and realistic. All acknowledge that people are imperfect, that lives are messy and complicated, that, though we may not deserve it, we all need forgiveness.