Characters with character

Sept. 28, 2009

by Ivan Raconteur

I watched a movie over the weekend, and it turned out to be one of those films that have a hidden message in them.

I don’t mind a message so much if I know it is coming, but sometimes they kind of sneak up on one.

Those sly devils in Hollywood like to do that.

They distract a person by putting an attractive young woman in the lead role, and packaging the thing as a comedy, then BOOM, the next thing you know they are making you think.

It seems like there ought to be some kind of disclaimer in the opening credits to warn us about things like that.

They feel compelled to use ratings to warn us if there is any nudity, bad language, or violence, so maybe they could incorporate a warning to let us know that there is a hidden message in the movie so we could be on our guard.

It is a little bit specious, like taking some food item that is good for us and disguising it under a layer of luscious chocolate.

As it turned out, I enjoyed the movie, and, after I got over the initial surprise, I didn’t even mind the fact that it made me think a bit.

The message, if that is the word I want, is that there are people in the world who are faced with difficult situations, but who never complain about it. They just get on with things, and try to have a life that is as normal as possible.

It might be a physical challenge, or it might be some kind of mental illness. It may have been caused by an accident or illness, or it may have been with them all of their lives.

Some of these conditions are permanent. There is no chance that things might magically get better someday. It is what it is, and those affected have had to come to terms with the way things are and live with it.

This applies not just to the people who are affected by the condition, but, if they are lucky enough to have friends and relatives in their life who care about them, it applies to those people as well.

The film I watched over the weekend made me think about the characters, and wonder what I would do if I were in their place.

That is quite an accomplishment, since all I was looking for when I inserted the disc into the DVD player was some light entertainment to pass the time while I absorbed a Beefeater and tonic with a wedge of lime.

The BLT was quite refreshing, and so was the perspective of the movie.

It suggested that even if we go through traumatic and life-changing events, there is hope. We may not ever be able to have a “normal” life, but we may find a life that is normal for us.

This makes a nice change from so much of the drivel that passes for entertainment these days, in which people who are as shallow as a pond in Texas after an especially dry summer sit around and whine about their miserable lives.

These people wouldn’t know real hardship if it bit them in the seat of their britches, and they certainly wouldn’t be able to cope with it if it did.

It is nice to think that there are people out there who do have what one might call strength of character.

The characters in the film were fictional, but they remind one that there are real people all around us who face incredible challenges every day.

There is nothing glamorous about it. In many cases, coping with adversity is a long slog of gritty, monotonous hard work.

What is a bit fine, and what may serve as an inspiration to the rest of us, is the spirit in which some people approach life.

Many would be justified in complaining about their situation, but instead, they just get on with things and make the best of what they have.

This is a good lesson for all of us. As much fun as complaining might be, it doesn’t really get us anywhere.

The next time we start thinking we have it rough, or that life has treated us unfairly, all we need to do is look around and see people who have things much tougher than we do. Recognizing this, we can roll up our sleeves, and just get on with whatever task is in front of us

It is funny what we can learn without even trying.

Like health food covered with chocolate, the film was littered with distractions such as amazing scenery, quirky characters, and biological humor, but there was more to it than that.

Movies are like a lot of other things in life. It is often that which is below the surface that is most valuable.