Sunday, March 13, 2005

Are we like the Julianne Moore character in "The Forgotten?"

After watching this movie, the comparison jumps out. Before I ruin it, here's some....



Ready? Now, don't bitch at me for giving away the plot. Such as it is. And while we're at it, Rosebud was a sled, Rhett leaves Scarlett, Tracy Lord remarries C.K. Dexter Haven after being jilted at the altar by George, and, dear deer lovers, hate to say it but Bambi's mother dies.

Okay. So as movies go, The Forgotten is easily just that. A few good scenes that make you jump, believable performance by Julianne Moore and you know, car chases and stuff.

But as a metaphor? Strong and heady stuff.

Everyone around Moore has forgotten their loved ones. People, and reality, are wiped off the map before they even have a chance to coalesce onscreen into three dimensional shape. Everything she has known and trusted disappears in a matter of months. To those with an agenda, or simply a willingness to forget, putting reality and the past behind them is easy.

Apparently Julianne's character has a son, Sam. In the beginning of the film, viewers are shown clips of him, welcomed into her memories of her once happy and promising life, and the formal, newspaper-driven explanation for what went wrong is made apparent.

Her husband is aware she is having problems acclimating to trauma and change, but, as blurry and two-dimensional as the newspaper clippings and photographs of their son, he's living on a surface level, content to treat her suffering as transient and workable. Rather than address the real issue, he's happiest focusing on the here and now of their relationship and interested in her getting to a place where she can do the same. By whatever means necessary. After a very short time, he's forgotten their former life completely and is happily accepting of the new reality. (Yes, he attended the RNC. Why do you ask?)

Her therapist focuses on putting the bad behind her, reminding her of how much time has past and chastizing her for dwelling on that which she cannot fix. (Yes, he's your Republican neighbor. How did you know?)

Still, nagging doubts, and memories of a better time, continue to have a "death grip" on her. She knows something isn't right, and losing that which she loves is more important than anything else.

Okay. So maybe it's just been a lousy week here in the reality-based community. One too many in a sea full of 'em, actually.

I feel the pull between trying to focus on daily living, keeping the boat afloat, the desire to keep my eye, and heart, on what seems to be injustice after injustice, and the overwhelming sense we're floating down into an abyss from which we may never recover. And then I realize -- I am that character. All progressives are, right now.

Told we are delusional moonbats, sometimes momentarily placated and seduced by the seeming "normalcy" of the world around us -- work, come home, clean, pay bills, sleep, wake up and repeat,-- yet, we're still consumed by what America has lost. What's scarily seductive is how strong that pull is to just accept.

We want things to be better and think maybe, with the perfect blend of willful blindness and desire, they could be. Yet, as with Moore's character, it's impossible to ignore the fundamental understanding that, regardless how comforting an alternate reality feels, it's still disingenuous. It's 1,000 points of wrong, wrapped up in comfy, shiny silk.

Nearly everything authentic has been sucked out of our world, and it does not compute.

In the end of the movie, ridiculous as it is, Moore is vindicated. Life resumes as she's always remembered it and all is well. There's no more talk of psychosis, or putting it all behind her through any means necessary. She sees it through. In the end, those who tried to use her for their nefarious ends failed. They did so because she could not let go.

Would that life were a movie - even a generally bad one where Gary Sinise's talents are wasted. It's not.

But the thing that keeps me going right now is the fact that I feel the nagging doubt. To hell with those who are complicit, willingly going along to get along, or who have the power of the press to try and erase our memories. We know what it was to have loved this country, and we know how it felt when life was normal. This is NOT normal. It doesn't feel right, it doesn't smell right, and it cannot fool all of us.

Most of all, it's worth fighting for, without aid of special effects, no matter who would say we're wrong for trying.

Nearly everyone around me is willing to forget. I'm not. You aren't, either. If we don't fight for what we love, it will be gone and we will, over time, forget it ever existed, somehow. Moore's character recognized the larger tragedy in that, and so, I hope, do most of us.

Maybe it wasn't such a bad movie, after all.

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