Thursday, September 12, 2019

#255 / Just Think Of It!

"Just think of it, Charles - yesterday I was a caterpillar, and tomorrow I'll be dead!"
I happened to come across this New Yorker cartoon, published in the August 19, 2019, edition, the day after I watched the 2013 movie About Time, which is available on Netflix. Those who have access to that streaming entertainment smorgasbord are certainly encouraged to watch the movie! Wikipedia synopsizes About Time in this way: 

About Time is a 2013 British romantic comedy-drama film about a young man with the ability to time travel who tries to change his past in hopes of improving his future. The film was written and directed by Richard Curtis, and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy. The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 70%, based on 154 reviews, with an average rating of 6.36/10. At the box office it grossed $87.1 million against a $12 million budget.

I am not, in general, a fan of either romantic comedies or "sci-fi" type movies of any kind. About Time, however, gets a very good review in my book because of its wonderful portrayal of a father-son relationship, and because of its ultimate message, valuable for we non-time-traveling types. 

The premise of the movie is that the young man mentioned in the Wikipedia write up, who is at the center of all the action, is informed very early in the film that he has the ability to travel backwards through time, an ability that is handed down, in his family, from father to son. 

At the end of the film, after the father has died, the son keeps making trips back to earlier times, so he can be with his father again. He has to be careful, of course, not to do anything very significant while he is back in time, lest he really screw up the future in which he is, actually, then living. Ultimately, the son realizes that he needs to say goodbye to his father in some final way, because his wife is pregnant, and he has already had a demonstration that time-traveling can really have an impact on the time-traveler's wife. He just can't risk it. Much as he loves his father, he has to let him go.

So, at the end, both father and son get to think about what it means to be alive. The cartoon from The New Yorker reminded me of the film's ultimate statement on this topic, as the son recounts how life has been, since his days of repeated time-traveling: 

I think that I have learned my final lesson from my travels in time. I have even gone one step further than my father did [the father having told his son that the father used time travel to go back to the start of each day, and to live it over again, and thus to realize, for each day he has lived, how wonderful it is to be alive]. 
The truth is I now don't travel back at all, not even for the day. I just try to live every day as if I have deliberately come back to this one day to enjoy it as if it were the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.

Just think of it! How magical it truly is.Yesterday I was a caterpillar!

And today......!

And today, how glorious it is to be alive, as we most mysteriously are!

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