Posted by: Tina M | 7 February , 2011

Falling to Earth

I was holed up at home today suffering a stomach ache when I thanked the heavens for the newly arrived Netflix holding two movies that I probably wouldn’t have chosen to watch purposefully in other situations. . . The Lovely Bones, and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

I began with Bones, and while I was prepared for most of the traumatic portions because I’d read the novel, I wasn’t expecting to like the movie so much. It seemed like a difficult story to tell, mostly because the story wasn’t entirely plot driven, instead focusing on contemplating life, death, family, and ultimately justice. The movie really managed to capture the emotional movement of the main character as she grieves her own death and the slow healing process that is bound to happen to her family as time goes by. The cinematography was gorgeous and reminded me of What Dreams may Come- fantastic, expansive, and quickly changing – into the things you’ve never dreamt of, or the nightmares you’d hoped you’d forgotten.

Overall, I thought the pieces of the story they chose to focus on created a nice representation of the original written work. The haunting reality of those who are taken too soon, and the equally frightening reality of the families left behind.

As for The Man Who Fell to Earth-

It was certainly as strange as I’d imagined a movie with David Bowie could be, and also haunting in it’s own way. The story of an alien on a mission to save his home planet, and family, who is ultimately foiled by humanity.

What I appreciated most about this film was it’s reference to a poem,

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Auden

 

While I didn’t have an opportunity to look at the words of the poem before watching the rest of the movie, it captures the underlying sadness that pervades the film, at the unacknowledged failure of this being. I could identify with the feeling of waiting; biding time until a plan could come to fruition, a plan to take care of a family left behind. . .

*Ok, my reality is far less dramatic than this circumstance. . .

But I was amazed at the awesome combination of sexy Rip Torn (who knew before MIB and Dodgeball, he was a womanizing professor who had a romp with pretty much every girl in his class), sexy David Bowie (Thank you thin-lipped pasty genderqueers!), science-fiction themes including humanoid aliens in a desert landscape, and rock and roll.

I wish it had a happier ending. But then I think that’s what binds these two movie together in their mission to bring me  a message of hope. Even after suffering the fall to earth from ideals, hopes, dreams and our pasts, we will continue on- broken and busted, re-shifted into a new creature, we will continue.


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