Three Titles for Celebrating the Transforming Power of Love

By | Begun 04/12/2009
Posted in Cross Cuts |
Almond Blossom by Vincent Van Gogh
As many of us celebrate this spiritual time of renewal according to our various traditions, common to several such remembrances is the presence of an overriding love that provides for a brilliant new future.

Without focusing on a particular religious tradition, below are three films worth noting for their demonstration of the power of such love ~ and the willingness of those who receive it.

In each case, the outcome astonishes given the outset. But such is the nature of love. And while love serves as the setting, it is actually hope (symbolized by the Almond Blossom) that underpins the transformations. Love steps into the space and does the actual work, but it’s the characters’ willingness to trust (however perhaps unwittingly) that moves them forward, and this trust occurs only in the presence of hope.

Of real hope: the kind that holds the deep knowing that things can and may well turn out for the better and participates in that possibility (vs. the counterfeit version that waits passively for tomorrow, awaiting Fate’s solution that’s always a day away). Real hope seizes the moment, however improbable it may seem, and reaps a future in which, as Hank below said, “I think we’re going to be okay.”

The Shipping News

Starring Kevin Spacey, Judi Dench, and Julianne Moore. Here we meet the isolated Quoyle (Spacey), beaten down and demoralized almost to the point of disappearance. A pivotal event changes his environment, a loving stranger enters his experience, and in allowing others to introduce him to himself he finds rebirth. (Have some hot tea on hand.)

The Shawshank Redemption

Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. When unassuming Andy Dufresne (Robbins) arrives at Shawshank Prison, he gives Red (Freeman) an utter surprise within the first 24 hours, which turns out to be the first of many. Into Red’s confined life comes a loving stranger, who because of Red’s commitment to a promise is able to lead him into a world undreamt. (Have a cold beer on hand.)

Monster’s Ball

Starring Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton. Hank (Thornton), a viciously racist prison guard, and Leticia (Berry), a struggling single mother, share an unlikely connection unbeknownst to either and find themselves in each others’ space by circumstance. Into lives hamstrung by tragedy (whether internally or externally inflicted) two moments of decision present themselves, and the responses set both lives on an apparently inconceivable path. (Have some chocolate ice cream on hand.)


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