In fact, in my first book (which is about mentoring for eating disorders recovery), Beating Ana, I included an entire section of mentoring tips based on my favorite movies.
Those movies are some of the best friends I’ve ever made in life.
Over the years, movies have taught me it’s okay to make mistakes. They have helped me learn about myself and the world. They have given me ideas for how to handle different situations with more grace than I would have otherwise.
Most of all, they have offered me hope – hope to grow from my past rocky start into someone wonderful, someone I’m really proud to be and know.
One movie I have watched over and over (and over and over) through the years is “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey (yes, there is a chapter in Beating Ana about “Contact”).
The characters in “Contact” feel like “my people” – in other words, we don’t fit in, we try to pull off the impossible, we cannot resist wondering “what if?,” we are willing to give everything for life’s most meaningful experiences…..
So many nights when I would feel so alone, I would pop in that movie and feel better right away.
Now there is “Interstellar,” which (to me at least) feels like “Contact’s” younger, super excitable sibling (and in fact, there is an actual connection between the two films that goes back to Dr. Carl Sagan himself).
Once again, we have a group of folks wrestling with the kinds of questions that tend to win wrestling matches (“can religion and science ever get along?,” “what if humanity goes extinct?,” “is love a feeling, a force, or both…or something else?”).
Once again, we have heroes too complex to ever wear such simplistic titles well, and villains too decorated with previous heroism to ever be fully vilified.
Once again, we have hope – right in the exact moment in time where we least expect to discover it yet most need it to show itself.
Is “Interstellar” without flaws? Of course not. But is it perhaps the most important movie of the decade? If someone asked me for my opinion, I’d say “yes.”
And if I was then asked to summarize the plot in one sentence, it would read: “Love saves the day – again.”
In “Interstellar,” love is presented as a force – a force every bit as legitimate and immense as space, time, and gravity. In this context, then, it makes perfect sense that humanity’s major drivers – science, faith, evil, hope – gather themselves around this most potent of mysterious forces to try to angle for power and influence.
In his New York Times review, David Brooks writes:
I suspect “Interstellar” will leave many people with a radical openness to strange truth just below and above the realm of the everyday. That makes it something of a cultural event.
With so many reviewers and viewers spending their energy, time, and effort on critiques, I prefer instead to rest my head and heart in Brooks’ beautiful words.
And actually, I spent the first half of the film nodding and smiling, thinking to myself with happy satisfaction, “This film is SO important.”
After which I spent the second half of the film struggling with the complexities of being a human being, realizing an essential part of fighting for salvation is proving to myself I am worth saving.
Back in the days when I was struggling against first my eating disorder and then depression and anxiety, I was very uncertain about whether I was worth the effort of saving.
Today I know I am. Today I know that the answer to that question – “Am I worth salvaging? Is my life worth saving?” (fill in the blanks for your name, for anyone’s name) is always YES.
Today’s Takeaway: Have you seen “Interstellar?” Did you have any “aha” moments? How did you feel as the movie began….midway through….as it was ending? If you had to sum up the plot in one sentence, how would your one sentence read?