I need to warn you about this movie. It may take you into places of your heart long closed or darkened. But for you risk-takers, here’s the trailer for the movie.
The autistic son pictured here spends much of the movie trying to figure out a key his deceased father seems to have left him. It must open something important from his father. But that’s just the outer framework for the story line. Underneath the exterior, this movie probes depths of grief that words only hint at. The facial images, the lighting, the music, the shot juxtapositions all convey a searing anguish. For the movie is not just about the loss of a father in 9/11. It’s about the loss so many know, the primal hunger for a father and the terrible abyss it leaves.
What this hunger entails is first the longing for personal affirmation and coaching. The father in this movie not only affirms his son as someone with a special gift, but coaches him in life. He does Tae Kwan Do with him, creates games and puzzles for him to do, helps him confront his fears, and just plays with him. In one hilarious scene, they battle each other over the most ingenious oxymoron. It is this personal coaching and affirmation that sons and daughters ache for. It gives them an orientation about themselves and life around them. But most importantly, the interaction becomes an emotional template, patterning them to know how to feel about God as their truest Father.
But the loss of this son scrapes deeper than personal coaching. It is the feel of his father, his presence that the sons misses, a loss so terrible that he can’t even face it at first. It is this hunger that’s so primal in all of us, something so crucial that food almost feels secondary. We must search and find this father presence somewhere, somehow. In fact, this is exactly what happens in the movie. The boy spends the whole movie trying to find the lock the key opens and perhaps keep his father’s presence still close.
For I have come to believe that the search for father is the universal hunger, the universal sadness, the universal hope that drives our lives, perhaps our entire lives. That’s precisely the place this movie drove me and where it may drive you also.
I hope you ignore my warnings and watch it anyway! If you do, let me know what you think.
PS. I watched it twice.
PSS. And I apologize for the ads below. I could not figure out how to use the trailer without them.