The weekend before last, my wife and I saw two movies. Both were by turns comic, wistful, serious, and–in moments–sobering in their implications. Both ministered to me, in ways reflected my life back to me (though one had, shall we say, a bit more “dross” to endure in getting to its core).
Though wildly divergent in plot, both films were essentially the same story: as each tale progressed, so did the protagonist’s inner journey. In this way, each was two stories in one: the external events (what happened) on the one, and the internal struggles on the other (facing down one’s inner demons).
At their respective hearts, the movies were about a character making peace with the past, learning that wounds only define us if we allow them to. Life will beat us down–but only if we let it. Contrary to what Dr. Phil says, the past doesn’t have to predict the future.
And this is, as a child of divorce, a message that resonated strongly with me. I can’t go back and change what my parents did, but I can build a better me, a better now, and better future for myself, wife, kids, etc. I don’t have to live in that place of hurt anymore. I can become the me I’m supposed to be.
Just like the characters in the movies my wife and I watched.
I’ll bet you’re wondering just who it is I’m writing of, right?
Wouldn’t you like to know?
Ok, I’ll tell you: Po, the panda, from Kung Fu Panda 2, and Annie Walker from Bridesmaids. (Please note: just because I’m writing of it here does not mean that I’m necessarily endorsing Bridesmaids for your viewing pleasure. Fair warning).
I’m serious. Both these characters were on similar arcs, and there were linchpin scenes in the third act of each that clued me in to the fact that, despite wildly divergent window dressing (plot), each of these tales was about the same thing: taking responsibility for one’s own life, and no longer allowing the wounds to define one’s character.
Which is why the Bible tells us “there is no new thing under the sun,” and why I say all the best tales are really two stories.
Where have you noticed two (seemingly) previously unrelated movies paralleling each other? Have you considered films, or books, in this light before? Please share in the comments.