Sunday, February 05, 2006

What’s So Bad About Doing Good?

An Essay Review of "The Rainmaker" Mickel Adzema
MusePapers December 17th, 1997 Primal Spirit Home Page
Last night my wife and I went to see "The Rainmaker"—the hit new movie based upon the blockbuster novel of the same name by John Grisham. While it was an extremely well-produced, acted, and directed movie, I didn’t feel very good when I left the theater afterwards. Uncovering the layers of feelings that were in me then, I realized that I was not satisfied at all with the ending. The movie had a triumphal and climactic courtroom scene, a delightfully sweet love story, and was totally engaging throughout—so much so that I was surprised, upon checking in with my body, occasionally, at how tense and "in suspense" I was because of my involvement with the movie: Caring and pulling for the events to turn one way as opposed to another—just as if these were real events in people’s lives instead of mere fictional events played out by actors with lives totally unlike the characters they portrayed.
Nevertheless, I noticed my body being in suspense, as well as my wet cheeks, replenished continuously by tears flowing freely during love scenes of caring and compassion, and scenes of tragedy and sadness.
So why did I leave the theater feeling so dissatisfied? Beneath the more superficial layers of feelings—the disappointment that the "victory" was only a pyrrhic one—i.e., it did not reap the expected benefits and was almost as good as a loss; and the fact that the romantic element was left undertermined—you weren’t sure that there was going to be a "happily ever after" for this couple—I realized there was the larger disappointment that the "heroic" main character, after this first and only case as a lawyer, and despite his huge (though prryhic) victory, was considering quitting the legal profession. This, because of the corruption and injustice in it.
I realized that this part was disappointing because it fit with a pattern of numerous stories of the Nineties whose message was largely that corruption and injustice (or downright evil) was everywhere and that it is hopeless to resist . . . and that heroic responses, by contrast, were stupid, or naïve, or—worst of all—too . . . well, "Sixty-ish." (I was beginning here to notice the generational tie-in --> deeper depressing feelings still!)

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