I saw Crazy Heart last week. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, so I will very cryptically say this: there’s only so many ways a movie like this can end, and I don’t know which is most clichéd. I was glad it didn’t end in one particular direction, but at the same time, found the way it actually ended to be almost as easy and trite. I guess there’s a third option which also would have been a cliché, though on a completely opposing, much more tragic path. Which would be a whole different moralizing lesson to impart.
I am, as always, taken back to Charlie Kaufman and Adaptation and the constant writer’s struggle: “Is there an original thought in my head?” Everything’s been done. Everything’s a cliché. Ha! Even “everything’s a cliché” is a cliché.
I guess of all these obvious endings, they chose the best option. It’s probably the least cheesy, and most truthful overall. Because here is a bitch of a lesson that slapped me in the face while I watched: redemption doesn’t always look like you want it to. You might save yourself, but that still doesn’t mean you get what you want. You might try to redeem yourself to achieve a particular self-conceived resolution, and the universe still has the power to smack you down and say, “Nope, that’s not what you can have. You can have many good things. But not that one, even though it’s the one you want the most.”
And that is a really really difficult concept to wrap my brain around. It makes me oddly sad. I like the idea of being able to accomplish ANYTHING, as long as you work hard enough. How American Dreamy of me.
But sometimes you have to accept that there are other redemptive, valuable things besides the ones you see as the only options. I’m too stubborn to handle this and I hold on to things much longer than I should. Letting go. Yeah, that’s something to work on. I think there is probably some redemption inherent in giving up gracefully.
Just because it doesn’t end the way you expect (or want) it to doesn’t mean it’s not good. And it doesn’t mean it’s the end either. Redemption is still achievable. Gulp – right?