Getting the Wrong Idea

Do you have any movies that you see differently than everyone else?  Or other stories, for that matter?

This weekend, I saw “Ruby Sparks” for the first time.  If you haven’t heard of it, it came out this year, and is the story of a once-successful novelist who, in an attempt to defeat writer’s block, writes about this vision he has of the “perfect” dream-girl, only find said girl suddenly, and in a distinctively magical way, appearing in his life, plus, of course, the resulting confusion, chaos, and increased awareness of self that comes from such a setup.  It’s like “Weird Science” but with a writer, rather than a couple of sciencey high-school kids.

It’s good.  It has a number of well-known actors in it, but it has that “indie” feel about it.  Not my favorite movie ever (I have reservations about the last twenty minutes or so), but I’d recommend seeing it.

The point is that I suddenly realized that I’m getting something out of this that I’m sure the writer (the girl who plays the titular character, I’ve learned) didn’t intend.  The story is really about the self-realization that occurs when a guy tries to create the perfect girlfriend.  It’s about discovering that the problems in your life are your own, that what you might see as failings in other people are very often your own inabilities to deal with reality. 

What I’m getting out if it is the story oft a warlock who doesn’t know he’s a warlock.

Seriously, the main character, the writer, wrote a really successful book when he was very young and hasn’t written anything of substance since.  Then, he suddenly conjures an actual person with his typewriter when he tries to write again.  Doesn’t that sound like the accidental manifestations of the will of a being of magic to you?  Isn’t it just as feasible that this guy isn’t actually a good writer, but rather he used some latent magical ability to craft his first book, something he’s not been able to reproduce in the intervening years because he thinks he produced it with actual writing talent?

Anyway, I think it’s a very interesting story when viewed through that lens.  I’m reminded of a time when somebody first explained the original Star Wars trilogy as the story of R2D2’s and C3P0’s voyage through the galaxy, about the things that they saw.  It changes things.  Heck, I even saw “Gladiator” again this weekend and suddenly found myself realizing that the most important decisions of the movie are made not by the protagonist, nor the antagonist, but by Quintus, the captain of the Praetorian.  Seriously, watch it again, the guy’s the single greatest force in the movie, and we barely know anything about him.

It can’t just be me, can it?  What have you seen lately that you see differently from everybody else?

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