Tuesday, October 15, 2013

by Janet J. Lawler
New York
Oct. 15, 2013
Robert Redford in All is Lost
All is Lost.  Gravity.  Two awesome new movies.  Both dealing with catastrophe and survival.  So why are these movies coming out now and receiving strong responses from audiences?

Are we feeling a little more lost these days?  Losing hope in our government, leaders, careers and world?  What are these popular movies teaching us?

Something is definitely in the Zeitgeist.  And it's not only the whiff of movie popcorn.

Gravity brings us to the vastness of space and All is Lost to the isolation of the sea.  Both worlds of mystery and wonder to human life.  Male (Robert Redford) and female (Sandra Bullock) heroes.  They're character are smart, top at what they do, yet find themselves unable to control their environments.   They find themselves spinning out of control.  No way out.

They're alone.  

They must fight to make it back.  And besides the elements and situation pulling them deeper into the abyss -- they must confront something even worse:  their own demons. 

Without spoiling either movie, All is Lost and Gravity teach us about perseverance, tenacity, intelligence, spirit and soul.  They show us what it is like to face our deepest fears, our long buried grief, our insecurities, the mysteries of the world and not quit. 

Life, and movies, don't always turn out as we hope. 

It sounds corny to say it's the journey and not the destination.  When we're in danger -- lose hope like Redford and Bullock on screen -- we just want stability again and to return to our normal lives.  But sometimes, the story (script) or our own life trials have other obstacles we must first overcome. 

We can crumble or face those challenges like Redford and Bullock do as their characters on screen.

These movies seem to teach us that the human spirit at its best never quits.  It falters, it hits its knees in pain, sorrow, loneliness, but then it's get back up.  Figure it out.  Try something else.  Obstacles are what make great movies.  We relate to them because we face our own every day.

Find a way, anyway, to keep going.
Go with the flow
That is the motto of champion swimmer Diana Nyad.  She's the 64 years old woman who recently swam from Cuba to Florida.  The first person to do it without a protective cage.  She talked to Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and said if you have a problem, no matter what it is, or how challenging it is, or you can't reach your goal and you've tried and tried... and maybe you have failed once, twice, three times... don't EVER give up.  Find a way to be a champion.  Nyad failed for decades at her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida.  People doubted her.  They made fun of her.  She put her head in the water, focused, moved through the pain and accomplished her DREAM.   She got the last laugh.
This is what Diana Nyad recently told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta:
"It's all authentic. It's a great story. You have a dream 35 years ago -- doesn't come to fruition, but you move on with life. But it's somewhere back there. Then you turn 60, and your mom just dies, and you're looking for something. And the dream comes waking out of your imagination." 

America loves a comeback story.  We respect and root for those who get knocked down but return to the ring better than ever.  Think of Sandra Bullock and Robert Redford again.  Two mega stars who have had their share of highs and lows, career ups and downs, personal challenges, hit movies and flops... but they continued to move forward... to work through difficult times... and now each is at the top of their game, in life and in Hollywood.  Life is funny.

Somehow they found their way.

Janet J. Lawler is a screenwriter, playwright and published author.  Her debut novel From the Ground Up is now available on Kindle and Amazon.com   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F3CYSU8

Here are the trailers for Gravity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufsrgE0BYf0 and All is Lost http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk_R04LfUQU