Poster image taken from IMDB
I know I am late to the party. For some reason I had never seen this movie. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Now, I am not going to get into semantics about the movie, I just want to talk a little about how it influenced me. We all know I am rather self-absorbed and the most important part of anything is how it all influences me.
The biggest question bothering me as I watched the movie centers on the girl, who is looking for her father. Are we all constantly seeking a dad? Are men slaves to this as well? I am usually quite sensitive to this topic in literature and movies which leaves me wondering if this is simply due to my lack of a father. Do people with good fathers have this issue? I found myself thinking David Morse was cast perfectly as the doting paternal figure. Then he died. Sigh.
There was a small part of me wishing she actually found a way to communicate with her father. Then, he made certain she understood he was just a hallucination. Once again there are no answers about whether or not our “souls” continue to exist after we die. Come on Sagan, throw me a bone! I found myself wondering if she felt closure after she saw her “father.”
My father is not dead. At least not as far as I know. I don’t imagine I would get any relief or closure if I saw him again. I think it would be more of the same bullheadedness that I inherited from him. While I cannot imagine completely turning your back on your child, I also know there is something so irrevocably damaged he simply lost capacity for maintaining a relationship with me. I am okay with this. Even if it still sucks sometimes.
Look, this was NOT Matthew McConaughey’s finest hour. He was quite flat throughout the movie. So, while I am acknowledging the fact he was not my kind of dude, he did something I love. The whole compass thing. Come on! I know it is cheesy. I have had secret fantasy for years about a guy giving me a compass. Tom Hanks did it in Big! It is seriously the sweetest gesture to me. So, Mr. Right if you want to win my heart, all you need to do is give me a compass and say something incredibly charming about wanting me to always find my way home to you.
This would serve two purposes. First, it would indicate you pay attention to the cheesy, sappy crap I pretend I don’t like. Second, it would show you have been reading my blog, AND paid attention. You would win all the way around. There is absolutely no downside to presenting me with a compass.
Theology and Terrorists
This movie did a fairly good job of highlighting the struggles people in this country face when they are not religious. Her lack of faith almost prevented her from being the person who got to go on the grand adventure. The only thing I know is I value religious freedom. This includes the right to not have a religion and not be persecuted.
The bomber was relevant even for almost 20 years later. We are still using bombs and weapons to attempt to prove theological points. I still find it disgusting. I cannot wrap my head around how people get from “I want to save lives” to “I need to kill you.” Pro-lifers shooting doctors. Muslims shooting up Christmas parties. Strange dudes opening fire in a bible study. I lump all of these people into one big group. Anyone who fixates on some ideology and uses it to justify hate and murder is just a douchebag. I have tried to convince myself they are mentally ill, however I just don’t buy it.
Love Letter to Science and Progress
In the end I suppose the story is really a love letter to science as a tool to achieve progress. I loved the point about taking small steps and evolving through it. This is an important lesson for me. I find myself wanting to rush through every thing to get to the end point. Perhaps I need to relish the small steps I continue to make.
There is something beautiful in the little victories.
As a species, I feel like humans have a gift of curiosity. This eternal drive for knowledge and answers. We would cease to have ambition if we had all the answers handed to us. I will never run out of questions. This means I will have to wake up and not be excited about what I may learn that day. We cannot stop looking for solutions just because our first attempt failed. We have to continue on.
Stop using real footage out of context
Robert Zemeckis did a pretty good job on this movie. I did not like all the news coverage and CNN footage. It seemed jarring. It was cute when he did it in Forrest Gump, but he needs to find a new trick. Rather than making the movie seem more likely to be possible, I was distracted trying to remember what Bill Clinton was actually talking about in that clip. I did not like it.
I related to Ellie as she went through her journey, and Jodie Foster somehow manages to suck me in with her understated charm and quiet demeanor. She manages to play strong women without making them overbearing. This is a skill I wish I possessed.
I am always uncomfortable when she is dealing with some romantic entanglement. Why is it always so awkward?
Contact was worth the time I spent watching it. While there were not many answers, it left me satisfied. I really don’t know how I managed to never see it until now.