Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"The Vow": Classic Ephesians 5

In a country where the divorce rate is a whopping fifty percent, it seems we have lost our sense of faithfulness to one another, and most of the time, films reflect that - which is why The Vow is so refreshing to see.

Starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, The Vow shows the beauty of a faithful marriage when loving a person isn’t easy. Leo and Paige are a newly married couple who end up in a car crash, resulting in Paige’s memory loss, and their vows are tested to their limits.

Leo is a heroic husband amid the tragedy, sacrificing his money and business to help Paige remember the last four years of their life together. In Paige’s mind, she is still engaged to her previous guy and is in law school instead of an art institute.

Despite Paige’s difficult situation, Leo upholds his role as an Ephesians 5 husband.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

Although the Christian aspect of the true story isn’t in the film, Leo still lays down everything to help his wife through her confusion and pain. Even with his goodness, he’s still human, and at one point reminds Paige that she still needs to respect him as he tries his best to love her even when she’s difficult to love.

Leo never stops pursuing his wife. When Paige’s memory doesn’t return, he decides to try to make her fall in love with him again. He tells her, “You know when you read a good book, and you want a friend to experience the same excitement you had? Well, our life together was really great, and I want to share it with you, as if I’m lending you a book. So how about one date?”

Paige struggles with remembering the person she was when the accident happened, and it causes her to drift away from Leo until she remembers why she made those decisions in the first place. She ends up making the same decisions again, this time, after making peace with the broken relationships in her family.

While Leo’s self-sacrificing love is a beautiful example, in the end, it isn’t Leo and Paige’s marriage that is the best example of faithfulness to their marriage vows: it’s her parents, broken and imperfect. The most touching moment in the movie is when her mother shares why she never left her husband after he had an affair.

With tears running down her face, she tells Paige, “I chose to stay with him for all the things he did right, instead of leaving him for the one thing he did wrong. I chose to forgive him.”

As romance movies go, this one is surprisingly deep in an industry that thrives on stories about superficiality and infidelity. The script had some great lines, and while Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams weren’t their best, they had tremendous depth and emotion in their characters. Overall, the film isn’t perfect, but the message is worth the viewing.

This film shows the beauty of self-sacrifice in marriage, and that real love involves a daily choice. Real love is willing the goodness of another more than your own needs. Despite faults and failings, real love is to choose to love one another – especially in the times where the warm, romantic feelings are absent. Sometimes it isn’t pretty, but in the end, faithfulness is always worth it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Adele Deserves Every Grammy She Got!


Adele's soulful pipes are mindblowlingly beautiful. Check out her performance at the Grammy's! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

9/11 is still a touchy subject, still too close for comfort. So any movie based on the event has heart-tugging potential, since every American was wounded that day, some more than others.

Oskar Schell lost more than others. In the book-turned-film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, young Oskar lost his father in the Twin Towers on 9/11, or “The Worst Day”, as he calls it.

Having been raised by a wonderful father played by Tom Hanks, Oskar took his father’s death quite hard, though he doesn’t let it harm his earnest spirit. Oskar is the most persevering son/amateur pacifist/vegan/oxymoronist/martial artist/inventor, who will stop at nothing to find answers.

Oskar’s father taught him to search, to dive into his curiosity. Oskar will relentlessly search for the pieces of the puzzle that satisfy the questions of his heart. So when Oskar finds a key in his father’s room with the name “Black” on it, Oskar believes his father intended that he find what the key unlocks.

The journey sends Oskar on a wild goose chase, since there are over 400 people with the name of “Black” in one region of New York alone. Oskar even employs the help of an elderly man who can’t speak to help him, and learns from him the art of letting go.

Note that for this movie, as it is often in life, the point isn’t about the destination, as it is the journey. Along the journey, Oskar learns about himself, his family, and about loving family relationships. Most importantly, he learns that it’s okay to be sad and to hurt. It’s also ok to move on. At some point, we have to let go to move toward the future.

While the premise of the story is initially touching and relatable, the intense dramatization is a bit too much to bear without any happy moments mixed in. With such a heavy subject, the movie needed to be more balanced; it was all depression, all time, until the last few minutes.

Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, who played the Schell parents, were raw and genuine. Their loving natures were believable, and their gestures and mannerisms unique. Thomas Horn, who played Oskar, was a bit too over the top personally, although in certain scenes in the movie, his emotion was spot-on.

While 9/11 is a heavy subject, it seems that the event and the people surrounding it should be portrayed in a hopeful light to reflect that, as a nation, we have let that grief go. 9/11 will never be forgotten. But I don’t think those who were lost would want us to wallow in depression, so Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close shouldn’t, either. We shouldn’t focus on the pain, but rather let its memory propel us forward, motivating us to live each day to the fullest.

Check out this movie review on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close featured at MyBenedictineBlog.com!