Movies that Changed My Life – The Fountain

the-fountain-5_188301-1920x1080I love film. While I’ve always been a massive fan of movies, it wasn’t until college that I feel deeply in love with them as a medium.

I’ve got a good running list in my head of not only movies that I love, but movies that impacted me in such a way that I can honestly say they changed my life. The Fountain is one such film.

There is slight spoiler territory below.

The Fountain is both written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. It tells a rather simple story of a man that both loves his wife and is terrified of death. While the story is simple, the journey through it is anything but. You see, the film, depending on the many different ways you can view it, spans 1000 years, 500 years or just a few years. There are 3 different time periods in the film: 1500 AD, 2000 AD and 2500 AD. The biggest constant in all 3 time periods are the two main characters: Tom, played by Hugh Jackman, and Izzi/Isabel, played by Rachel Weisz.

In the year 1500, Tom is a conquistador in a Mayan country and is tasked with delivering Spain from bondage by the queen, Isabel, by finding the Tree of Life. In the year 2000, Tom is a scientist looking for a cure to save his dying wife, Izzi. Finally, in the year 2500, Tom is an astronaut headed to a dying star to resurrect his dead wife, Izzi.

Personally, I view the elements in the year 2000 and 2500 as being literal and actually happening, while the stuff in 1500 is a story that Izzi was writing about her and Tom as an allegory to her ultimate death and Tom’s search to save her.

Not surprisingly, there’s many different ways to view these periods and theories as to how they relate. Darren did an astounding job of drawing parallels and using many similar techniques to make all 3 periods a cohesive whole by moving from darkness to light, certain repeated camera shots and similar dialogue.

Visually the movie is stunning and even jaw dropping at times. As I stated above, the constant deliberate movements of actors and camera work from darkness to light is not only visually striking, but also emphasizes the journey that Tom is undergoing as he moves from fear, regret and anger to acceptance, peace and enlightenment.

The music or score of a movie can truly make or break a film for me. Happily, Darren used his old standby composer, Clint Mansell, to make what is my favorite movie soundtrack of all time. Darren again teamed up with the Kronos Quartet to bring Clint’s music alive and even used the great band Mogwai to further lift the score to another level. Death is the Road to Awe is not just a moving piece of music, but follows the timeline of human life itself. Starting subtle and curious and building to the ultimate climax of life and coming back down for a timely and beautiful ending.

What’s most moving about this movie is Tom himself. Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career here and I found myself being strongly sympathetic to his character as he fights to save his wife and even seek vengeance on death itself. While some view him as cold for working so hard in the year 2000 and distancing himself from Izzi, I actually found it to be the most loving thing a man could have done in that moment. He was working tirelessly to save her. She had accepted her own death, but it would take Tom another 500 years to come to the same moment of peace.

There are many more reasons I love this film and I could talk about it for pages and pages, but the biggest question remains: why did this movie change my life? Glad you asked! This movie asked profound questions of not only life but also death. While I’ve never struggled with a fear of dying, the road that Tom takes to enlightenment that death is actually what gives life meaning is both heart breaking and liberating. This movie made me see my life as more meaningful and significant than I had previously and it made me hug my wife a little bit tighter.

What more important lesson could something teach us?



My Sincere Request For You To Stop Telling Me You’re Praying For Me

prayer_request_buttonI’ve written about prayer on and off in the past, but this post will be much different. It’s a sincere request for you to stop praying for me or, at least, stop telling me you’re praying for me.

The longer I’ve been in unbelief the more and more this ever present issue bothers me. To the believer, I’m sure it’s an astoundingly dumb thing to get bothered over, but to the unbeliever, it’s very passive aggressive and, given enough time and repetition, downright insulting.

I’ve been hearing it much more the past month than normal so felt I should just issue a blanket request to please stop.

Do know that I am fully aware of the love and good intention behind every “I’m praying for you,” but please be aware that it is passive aggressive. When you know full well that I don’t put any stock into the ideas of gods and continually tell me you’re praying for me, it’s just rude. I understand you think you’re being helpful and even encouraging, but you’re not. You’re reminding me of how wrong you assume my position is while touting your belief in my face as absolute truth.

What if at every parting I told you that I was praying to Apollo for you? Or that Apollo is working wonders in your life? Or that Apollo told me to tell you that he cares for you? Wouldn’t that eventually grow tiresome?

While I’ve never said it before, I do know some atheists that when told, “I’m praying for you,” will respond with, “I’ll think for you.” Maybe it’s time to flip to that strategy just to shake things up?

If you really feel that your god has everything in control and anything is within it’s power, why tell me you’re praying for me? What purpose does it serve to inform me of your prayer? Is your god not powerful enough to do it’s miracles unless you inform the person you’re praying for them?

Basically, I’ve just grown most tired of someone trying to sell me the idea of a loving god that would happily help me in trivial tasks, but not help the 9 million children that die every year before the age of 5. When viewed in the light of real torment and misery, it’s narcissistic and arrogant to assume that a god that allows suffering on such a massive scale would take time to help me in some menial task.

So, please do me a great favor as a friend or loved one and stop telling me you’re praying for me. I’m weary of hearing it and have tired of smiling and nodding and saying “thanks” so as to not suffer through a long dialogue about why I’d appreciate you to stop telling me that.

With all that in mind, may the God of Healing and Light, Apollo, guide you and keep you well. May His face shine on you and your loved ones and may you know the peace of living life in Him.

Be blessed.