Friday, October 25, 2013

‘Fifth Estate’ dissects the clarity of intent

“The Fifth Estate” (2013). Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Moritz Bleibtreu, Alicia Vikander, Carice van Houten, Alexander Siddig, Jamie Blackley, Jeany Spark. Director: Bill Condon. Screenplay: Josh Singer. Books: Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, and David Leigh and Luke Harding, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. Web site. Trailer.

How clear are we about the motivations driving our actions? Are we sure about the nature of the beliefs we draw upon in creating our reality, or is there some doubt in our minds about the truthfulness of our alleged intents? Getting a handle on the level of clarity we employ when engaging in these practices may perplex and challenge us, even when our motives supposedly appear patently obvious and purely altruistic. But what if they’re not? Such is the conscious creation quandary dissected in the new docudrama, “The Fifth Estate.”

The film, said to be based on actual events, chronicles the rise of the web site WikiLeaks and its enigmatic founder, Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The site was created to expose questionable, unethical and even illegal activity by corporate and government entities by making it possible for whistleblowers to anonymously leak secret information and documents about such incidents – disclosures that might not otherwise see the light of day. Assange believed that the prospect of anonymity (and, hence, freedom from ramifications) would encourage more would-be whistleblowers to step forward and reveal information that they would not be able to do by more conventional means. He also hoped that the site would unmask newsworthy revelations that mainstream media organizations were unaware of, willfully ignoring or too timid to cover.

The story opens in Berlin in 2008, when Assange first meets his primary collaborator, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl), an idealistic computer expert who believes in Assange’s mission. Working covertly and diligently, Assange and Berg (who adopts the pseudonym Daniel Schmitt) soon begin releasing information about various corporate and government bombshells, such as details of the alleged money laundering practices of Switzerland’s Julius Baer Bank and accusations about thousands of extrajudicial killings by the Kenyan police. With these and other revelations, WikiLeaks’ visibility soars and gains valuable support from influential figures, such as Icelandic Parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir (Carice van Houten). The site even garners the attention of once-skeptical mainstream media outlets, such as The New York Times and Germany’s Der Spiegel. The London-based newspaper The Guardian takes a particularly strong interest, with editor Alan Rusbridger (Peter Capaldi) and investigative reporter Nick Davies (David Thewlis) paying close attention to the upstart organization’s efforts and even seeking to establish a working relationship.

But, as WikiLeaks and Assange gain notoriety, some questions arise, especially for Daniel. For instance, he’s puzzled (and somewhat outraged) when he learns that some of Julian’s investigative tactics don’t match the public pronouncements he makes about them. What’s more, his stated intents for WikiLeaks’ mission appear to change over time, with inflexible dogma slowly, but decidedly, usurping the cause of altruism; Assange becomes more concerned with getting the word out than with the consequences of his organization’s actions, a journalistically perilous course if ever there were one. And then there’s the inscrutability of Assange himself, who is often hard to fathom, even among those closest to him; his statements about his background frequently conflict one another, even about such seemingly simple matters as the truth of how he came to develop his iconic linen white locks.

Questions arise in officialdom, too, especially when the leaked revelations become progressively more damning. Officials in the U.S. State Department (Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney) and Defense Department (Anthony Mackie) place heightened scrutiny on WikiLeaks, especially when fears emerge that the site’s activities may jeopardize sensitive operations and the safety of foreign informants, such as a highly placed Libyan government official (Alexander Siddig).

But those concerns pale compared to what arises in 2010, when WikiLeaks comes into the possession of hundreds of thousands of top secret U.S. government cables through a massive leak executed by Army Specialist Bradley Manning. Suddenly, the stakes for all involved increase exponentially, including operatives throughout the Obama Administration, everyone inside WikiLeaks and the site’s media partners. There’s also a lot on the line in the relationship between Julian and Daniel. And, given the uncharted territory involved, no one is certain how events will play out. But one thing is for sure – the intents behind everyone’s actions will, for better or worse, govern the outcome.

As the foregoing suggests, intent is at the heart of the film’s narrative. What exactly do we wish to accomplish, and are the beliefs underlying those aspirations truly in line with what we seek to achieve? That may not always be as easy to assess as we might imagine, because beliefs can evolve over time, especially when the quest to fulfill their associated objectives becomes progressively more ingrained in our thinking. That can carry unexpected consequences. For instance, as the film shows, when does a just cause quietly transform into a rigid obsession, a fanatical witch hunt or even a reckless smear campaign? In the throes of our fervor, sometimes we can become blinded as to where the line distinguishing those possibilities exists.

The ways in which our beliefs play out as manifested outcomes depend, of course, on the source from which they spring forth (namely, each of us). Our focus ultimately governs the reality we experience since it gives rise to an externalized expression reflective of who we are internally. In Assange’s case, for example, we see an individual obsessed with secrets and their exposure (sometimes no matter what the cost), an ironic circumstance for someone who appears to have plenty of secrets of his own – and who toils to protect their revelation. In a situation like this, one can’t help but wonder what beliefs are driving the fulfillment of these seemingly contradictory – yet very much related – goals. This creates an intriguing conundrum for Julian, as well as for all of the individuals and organizations who work with him – and who try to discern his motives.

Of course, there may be nothing amiss with discrepancies such as this, as they may well be indicators of our intrinsic multidimensional selves. As Assange carries out his “mission” (whatever that might ultimately be), we see the different sides of his character emerge, as illustrated by the foregoing example about secrets and privacy. It’s also apparent in the motives underlying his purposes for establishing WikiLeaks: Are his efforts driven by a desire to expose corruption, or are they about mere self-aggrandizement? Or perhaps it’s some of both, since each aspect is indicative of Assange’s inherent multifaceted nature? If that’s the case (and I’d contend that it is in light of the film’s balanced presentation of the different sides of his character), then he’s at best only partly aware of that nature; he struggles to recognize and reconcile the various sides of himself and the beliefs that each draws upon in creating his reality. It’s a consideration we’d all be wise to heed, given that we, too, each have such an innate multidimensional nature. And, unless we possess a clear understanding of this concept, we might easily find ourselves faced with the same kind of challenge that Julian’s character wrestles with in the movie.

Interestingly (and somewhat ironically), at one point, Assange pleads for “the truth” and not just “someone’s version of the truth.” But, if we each create our own reality, then don’t we each also have our own version of the truth? In making his argument, Julian acknowledges that, to find the truth, one must start with oneself, an observation that would imply that “truth” is characterized by a certain individual relativism. Such a concession would thus seem to contradict the primary basis of his plea. But it also makes clearer than ever the need for each of us to recognize, acknowledge and understand our intents and our fundamental nature if we’re to ever understand ourselves and what we ultimately seek to create.

“The Fifth Estate” is a polished, cleverly directed thriller that serves up more food for thought than what’s apparent in the plot line of its surface story. Director Bill Condon offers up a taut, fascinating picture featuring excellent cinematography, skillful editing, an innovative production design and a terrific soundtrack. The film’s well-written script tells a complicated story about complex issues and characters quite capably, especially in its lucid explanations of intricate concepts concerning Internet technology, international relations and journalistic ethics, all of which are made clear without spoon-feeding the audience or leaving viewers in the dark. The picture is well-paced for the most part, though it has a slight tendency to meander in the second hour, particularly where the U.S. government subplot is concerned. However, considering the high level of intertwined personal, geopolitical, legal and ethical consequences involved, the creative tension is sustained well throughout.

And then there are the performances, which are absolute knock-outs, particularly Brühl and, especially, Cumberbatch. In portraying the protagonist, Cumberbatch turns in a superb, nuanced, award-worthy performance that’s certainly deserving of whatever accolades it earns. I would like to hope the film earns recognition for many of its other fine attributes as well, though, in light of the movie’s tepid performance at the box office and its inexplicably cool critical reception, the picture may unfortunately end up on the trash heap of awards season also-rans.

Given the nature of the characters and story involved, it’s unclear how “truthful” the film is, and we may never clearly know the “real” answer. Assange is said to have assailed the picture as a complete fiction, and it’s possible that the source writers and filmmakers may have their own agendas in telling the story as they have. So, in making up our minds about this picture, maybe we need to recall Assange’s comment about each of us finding the truth by starting with ourselves, a practice that’s at the heart of conscious creation. And, if we do so, we just might be able to successfully dissect our beliefs and clearly discover what’s behind each of our own individual intents. Perhaps that’s the biggest revelation – and the most valuable lesson – to come out of “The Fifth Estate.” Let’s hope we’re all paying attention.

Copyright © 2013, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

‘Rush’ reveals what drives us

“Rush” (2013). Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, Christian McKay, Colin Stinton, Augusto Dallara. Director: Ron Howard. Screenplay: Peter Morgan. Web site. Trailer.

The drive for success is a curious phenomenon. What impels it? And why would anyone pursue it with seemingly unrestrained fervor, especially when the prospect of danger lurks at every turn? Those are just some of the questions addressed in the new, fact-based auto racing drama, “Rush.”

The world of Formula One grand prix racing was abuzz in 1976 with the rivalry between two talented but very different drivers, England’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austria’s Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). The devil-may-care Brit drove with reckless abandon, his foot lodged to the pedal to push for whatever speed he could muster out of his McLaren machine. Lauda, by contrast, was the consummate tactician, who believed that preparation was everything when it came to readying his Ferrari for the track, a carefully calculated strategy that helped him earn the Formula One world championship title the year before. But, despite Lauda’s success in 1975, he faced very different circumstances the following year, as this film shows.

The rivalry between Hunt and Lauda actually began in 1970, when the drivers both competed on the Formula Three circuit, a training ground for the big show. They established their personal and professional styles, both on and off the track, at that time. Those styles often clashed, too, yet they formed the basis of the competitive relationship that would grow between them as the years advanced.

Lauda broke into Formula One racing by basically buying his way into it, making a mark that eventually helped land him a spot on the famed Team Ferrari. With the backing of an established racing team financed with the deep pockets of Enzo Ferrari (Augusto Dallara), coupled with his meticulous sense of preparation, Lauda prospered on the track.

Hunt, on the other hand, got into Formula One with the backing of Lord Alexander Hesketh (Christian McKay), a racing enthusiast who bankrolled his team’s effort out of his own pocket without the benefit of corporate sponsorship. With Hunt at the wheel, the team achieved some moderate success, but it wasn’t enough to sustain a continued effort. Faced with the prospect of having no ride for the 1976 season, Hunt approached the head of McLaren Racing, Teddy Mayer (Colin Stinton), pleading his case for being named a team member. Mayer was reluctant, given Hunt’s reputation for recklessness (and for his sometimes-unsavory off-the-track exploits), concerns for some of McLaren’s sponsors. But Hunt convinced Mayer that he could win the title if given the chance, and so he got his ride.

With Lauda still behind the wheel at Ferrari and Hunt now firmly on board with McLaren, the stage was set for the showdown between these two rivals on the 1976 world racing tour. And what a tour it was – a campaign characterized by cutthroat driving, accusations of cheating, life-threatening injuries and personal courage pushed to the limit. The outcome was quite a rush, indeed.

“Rush” expertly illustrates the lengths that our beliefs can push us to in seeking the fulfillment of our goals. Both Lauda and Hunt were so fixated on manifesting a world title for themselves and their teams that they would do almost anything to realize that outcome. And their success during the course of that fateful season showed just how committed they were to the beliefs underlying those efforts.

Of course, a willingness to do anything to win also reveals the potentially dangerous side of our beliefs, specifically how they can be transformed from the engines of dreams into the vehicles of obsession. Such thinking thus illustrates what can happen when un-conscious creation takes hold. This can carry grave consequences, too; such a loss of perspective often results in tragedies that may have dire impact on other aspects of our existence, including our loves and even our very well-being (if you doubt that, just ask the drivers’ wives, Marlene Lauda (Alexandra Maria Lara) and Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde)). Learning how to judiciously temper our beliefs when necessary is crucial under such circumstances, especially when considerations even bigger than winning a world championship are on the line.

It’s also important that we understand the role all of our creations play in the greater scheme of things. A perceived setback, for example, may well prove to be a key motivator. For instance, when Hunt’s wife announces that she’s leaving him to pursue a relationship with actor Richard Burton, the driver channels the energy fueling the beliefs behind his anger into his racing, a move that enabled him to achieve better and more consistent results than he had attained prior to that point of the season. Hunt’s success, in turn, pushed Lauda to boost his efforts, encouraging him to focus his beliefs on achieving victory even more intently than he had before. Ironically, Hunt and Lauda thus ended up becoming not only rivals but also inspirations for one another. (Who would have thought that would happen at the season’s opening?)

In their own ways, Lauda and Hunt each symbolize the elements that go into successful belief formation. Lauda, the gifted technician concerned with materializing the physical means for attaining victory – a fast, finely tuned car – embodies the intellect. This rather cold, mechanical approach to racing didn’t win him many friends, even if it did win him races.

Hunt, by comparison, is more preoccupied with the intangible essence of what makes a successful racer – mastery over speed, a principle to be surmounted, no matter how it’s accomplished – a metaphysical quality symbolic of the intuition. He relished the thrill of racing, despite the danger, in much the same way he embraced all of the other joys life has to offer, an approach that made him wildly popular with friends and fans (not to mention the many racing groupies who flocked to the tracks).

And, while Lauda and Hunt may have each placed their focus on a different aspect of effective belief development, their combined efforts managed to produce a pair of competitors whose pooled results couldn’t have yielded a closer finish in the championship points standings by season’s end. Indeed, it’s quite a story, one that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats until the final checkered flag drops.

“Rush” is a fairly typical offering from director Ron Howard, solid in virtually every respect from start to finish. It doesn’t quite measure up to his more notable works, like “Apollo 13” (1995) or “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), but it certainly is a fine piece of filmmaking. The racing sequences are thrilling, and, as one who was once a grand prix racing aficionado, I can attest that they’re re-created with astonishing authenticity, right down to the paint jobs on the cars. The on-track story clearly works better than the soap opera off-track drama, but the performances across the board are quite capable, especially for the two leads, who bear uncanny resemblances to their real-life counterparts.

Despite the film’s strengths, there has been some debate about how accurately the story portrays the rivalry between the two drivers. Some have suggested the bitterness is overblown, while others have said it captures the Hunt-Lauda relationship perfectly. One thing is for sure, though – there definitely was mutual respect between the rivals, no matter what level of personal dislike may or may not have actually existed between them. Regardless of where “the truth” lies, the story told here is a good one, even if it takes dramatic license.

Achieving a cherished goal is quite an accomplishment. Few feelings outstrip the sense of fulfillment that comes with achieving a desired objective, especially one into which we’ve poured our hearts and souls (not to mention our beliefs). “Rush” depicts this with remarkable clarity, showing us the rewards – and the price – of success. But, most of all, it illustrates what propels us to attain a coveted outcome, a revelation into ourselves that may be the grandest prize of all.

Copyright © 2013, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

‘Enough Said’ implores us to follow our hearts

“Enough Said” (2013). Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson, Amy Landecker, Eve Hewson, Toby Huss, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Kathleen Rose Perkins. Director: Nicole Holofcener. Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener. Web site. Trailer.

Even under the best of circumstances, getting a romance to turn out as hoped for can be a tricky proposition. But, when a clear, heartfelt path to happiness is revealed to us, we’d be foolish to ignore it, no matter how unconventional it might seem, what our past tells us or what others may think. Such is the challenge put to the lovelorn protagonists of the delightful new romantic comedy, “Enough Said.”

Life’s transitional periods can be challenging – and full of surprises. Just ask Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The divorced, forty-something masseuse diligently strives to build her client base, and she sincerely loves her craft (even if she isn’t crazy about some of her regulars or their annoying quirks). To seek solace from her career challenges, she immerses herself in her role as the doting mother of a teenage daughter, Ellen (Tracey Fairaway). But, as a hard-working divorcee whose only child is about to leave for college, Eva doesn’t have a lot to look forward to. While it’s true she has her share of friends, like Sarah (Toni Collette) and her husband Will (Ben Falcone), there isn’t much else going on in her life, and she now faces a potentially lonely time ahead.

Circumstances change one night, however, when Eva attends a party with Sarah and Will. While there, she meets Marianne (Catherine Keener), a divorced new age poet who’s in the market for massage services. And then, not long thereafter, Eva is introduced to Albert (James Gandolfini), a middle-aged museum curator with whom she shares a breezy mutual flirtation. All things considered, not a bad evening.

Divorced masseuse Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, right) and divorced museum curator Albert (James Gandolfini, left) make for an unlikely pair in the delightful new romantic comedy, “Enough Said.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Like Eva, Albert is divorced and the father of a teenage daughter (Eve Hewson) who’s about to leave for college. He’s also a teddy bear personified, a quality Eva finds very appealing. But, in many other ways, Albert is far different from the men she has typically dated (or even been attracted to). The portly, unassuming everyman is nothing like her previous love interests, so, quite naturally, she wonders whether their relationship will succeed. The lingering hurt from her own divorce and the playful, but sometimes-nasty bickering of Sarah and Will make her a little gun-shy about romance, too. But, despite these concerns, she can’t deny her growing attraction to Albert, so she decides to take a chance and keep seeing him to find out what the future has in store.

Just as things start to progress well, however, Eva’s doubts become unexpectedly amplified. One afternoon, while massaging Marianne, Eva patiently listens to her vent about the irritating traits of her ex-husband. And, based on Marianne’s vividly detailed description, Eva soon discovers that her client’s ex bears an uncanny resemblance to someone near and dear to her – Albert.

New age poet Marianne (Catherine Keener, center) provides masseuse Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, left, back to camera) with massage business and an unexpected wealth of information in director Nicole Holofcener’s new romantic comedy, “Enough Said.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Suddenly, Eva has access to a wealth of intimate information about her new beau, unbeknownst to either Marianne or Albert. That realization proves to be a real game changer – one that could lead to a rich, new relationship or a potentially disastrous ending. How matters turn out will depend on what Eva does with that information – and how long she can keep mum about her unexpected knowledge of the truth.

Eva’s dilemma is a tricky one to manage, let alone resolve. She’s very drawn to the idea of having someone special in her life, and that’s evident by Albert’s appearance in it. She’s obviously put forth the intent to create that result, making use of beliefs that clearly support such an outcome (if that weren’t the case, Albert never would have shown up!).

But the challenge Eva has set up for herself goes beyond just attracting a new romantic interest. She’s also created a scenario involving the materialization of a partnership in which she and her significant other can be committed to one another and still seek the fulfillment of their individual needs. A relationship like that demands that the parties be themselves, that their thoughts and actions are governed by beliefs firmly rooted in honesty, sincerity, openness and personal integrity. And that’s where the tricky part comes in.

As events unfold, it’s apparent Albert has already come to that realization; he has no trouble being himself. In fact, his contentment with acting naturally apparently contributed heavily to the dissolution of his marriage; Albert’s laid-back, jeans-and-tee-shirts attitude simply didn’t jibe with Marianne’s pristine, everything-must-be-perfect worldview. And, after that experience, he knew that anyone with whom he became involved would have to accept him as he is or there simply wouldn’t be a relationship.

For Eva, however, being herself isn’t (and apparently never has been) easy. As someone who’s accustomed to catering to others, she’s inexperienced at tending to herself (i.e., at forming beliefs that manifest what she needs). She’s so concerned with pleasing others that she’s quietly – and constantly – afraid she’ll say or do the wrong thing. She also doesn’t want to fail at marriage a second time, and the overriding fear of that prospect significantly colors her beliefs. And then there’s Albert’s appearance and behavior, both of which Eva believes some people might find objectionable, a concern that factors greatly into her thinking about their relationship potential (a consideration incessantly fed by Marianne’s caustic comments, too).

Based on the foregoing, it’s easy to see how Eva might be discouraged from pursuing an involvement with Albert. But what about her undeniable attraction to him? Where is that coming from? Should she ignore it or embrace it? The persistence of such thoughts clearly shows she’s got more to consider than her past experiences or the rules of social etiquette. One would hope she realizes that the beliefs related to those considerations are far less important than those associated with the heartfelt feelings she’s beginning to develop. The big question is, of course, will she honor them? Indeed, will she allow herself to be herself and pursue the relationship her heart is urging her to follow?

This scenario thus raises some significant conscious creation lessons for Eva, such as (1) learning how to listen to one’s own intuition rather than blindly following the dictates of others or the experiences of the past, (2) being willing to think outside the box and move past arbitrary limiting beliefs and (3) giving oneself permission to materialize what one truly wants rather than what one believes one’s supposed to manifest. That’s quite a metaphysical course load, to say the least.

The playful, but sometimes-nasty bickering of married couple Sarah (Toni Collette, left) and Will (Ben Falcone, right) provides an interesting running commentary on the nature of relationships in “Enough Said.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

However, as challenging as these issues might be for Eva, she can also take comfort in the fact that she’s also created the perfect circumstances for trying out these ideas. Albert is a model teacher, Marianne’s inside information provides clues on how (and whether) to proceed, and the relationship-related observations of Sarah and Will and of Eva’s ex-husband (Toby Huss) offer a valuable running commentary on the nature and value of mutually beneficial romantic partnerships. All of these elements combine to give Eva an ideal learning laboratory for this significant life lesson.

It’s an especially crucial time in Eva’s life for addressing the beliefs associated with these issues, too. As a single mother who’s about to embark on the empty nest stage, she’s looking for something to fill the void that will be created by Ellen’s departure. Will this be a time when she finally addresses her own needs, wants and desires? Or will she find herself alone, unsure about how to be generous and nurturing to herself (quite an irony given her vocation)? Or, in yet another option, will she fall back on familiar patterns of behavior and tried-and-true activities, such as becoming a sort of surrogate mother to Ellen’s best friend, Chloe (Tavi Gevinson), once her own daughter has left home? No matter what she decides, Eva has her work cut out for her. But, if she manages her beliefs and creations with metaphysical skill and dexterity, she stands to reap tremendous rewards.

Doting mother Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, right) faces the impending empty nest stage of her life as her daughter, Ellen (Tracey Fairaway, left), prepares to leave for college in the new romantic comedy, “Enough Said.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“Enough Said” is a terrific movie in virtually every respect. Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener has taken a quantum leap in her writing and directorial abilities with this offering, even if it is somewhat more conventional than her fine previous efforts. The picture is a terrific showcase for its excellent ensemble cast, particularly its two leads. Louis-Dreyfus turns in a terrific performance reminiscent of the well-intentioned, though often-clueless lead character she portrayed in her hit TV show The New Adventures of Old Christine, but with a deeper range of emotion than anything she demonstrated through that vehicle. And Gandolfini is positively adorable in a role that shows off the actor in a totally different light than what most viewers are accustomed to. The principals have an amazing chemistry together as well, coming off so naturally that you’d swear they were a couple in real life.

Sadly, it’s unavoidable to speak about this movie without addressing Gandolfini’s untimely passing before the film’s release. While I would like to think it’s possible to evaluate the actor’s portrayal of Albert purely on the basis of his performance, I find it impossible to separate Gandolfini’s depiction of the character from his own tragic circumstances. The off-screen story quietly and “inadvertently,” though nevertheless palpably, makes its presence felt in the film. But this “intrusion” is not entirely unwelcome; in fact, in some ways, it warmly enriches the rendering of the character. In knowing what we do about the actor’s unexpected demise, we can’t help but empathize for Albert more so than we might have ordinarily. Even though mortality is not an integral element of the story line, in light of what happened to the man who brought this character to life, we so want him to experience genuine happiness before it’s too late that we find ourselves pulling for him every step of the way.

I realize I may not be terribly objective or socially correct in saying any of this, but that’s how I felt as I watched this film. I truly applaud him for what he did for movie audiences with this role, and his production crew obviously felt the same way, as evidenced by the appearance of the touching words “For Jim” before the closing credits.

As this picture unintentionally reveals in unexpectedly prophetic ways, life truly is something we’d best not squander. Anytime we find ourselves engaging in pursuits where we fail to follow our hearts – especially in the arena of romance – we had better get our acts (and our beliefs) together as quickly as possible so that we can revel in the blessings that real love has to offer us.

Enough said.

Copyright © 2013, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.