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Beautiful Moments in Film #1: Dedication

Dedication (2007) by Justin Theroux

Rudy: That’s life Henry.
Henry: Yep.
Rudy: You know what life is?
Henry: Life is a horrible little giggle in the midst of a forced death march towards hell.
Rudy: No it isn’t.
Henry: An interminable wail of grief…
Rudy: No! Life is a single skip for joy.
Henry: (sigh) I know…

A realist, two feet planted firmly on the ground, looks down and pronounces that this, here and now, is life. A poet instead dreams of flight, and bravely leaps up into the air…

If life is a skip for joy it requires one to enjoy, remember the time we spend in the air, rather than dwell upon that spent on the ground. Or in the ground for that matter.

These are the Newtonian laws of happiness—the ipso facto necessity of optimism and hope instead of pessimism and doubt, for life is a cup both half-empty and half-full, poison-laced and nectar-brimmed, a meal we cook either satisfying or not by our very perceptions and attitudes.

Dedication Movie PosterHenry Roth (Billy Crudup) is a character who sees nothing but the landing at the end of life, the death awaiting him when his skip—more leaden-footed stumble—touches the ground.

Dedication begins with Henry as a realist, but his realism really an excuse for an all pervading, bleak without respite pessimism, a pessimism which, in an endless circle of causation, justifies his fear and perpetuates his misery.

Henry ends the film taking a leap of faith, dares blindly to hope against “facts” or “proof,” chooses no to longer look down.

Pessimist, Optimist, Realist

A pessimist is he
Who shuts his eyes
To the rising sun.

An optimist is he
Who looks up and sees
Through the teeming clouds.

A realist is he
Who faces the clouds
And adores the sun.

Sri Chinmoy
The Wings Of Light, Part 3

5 Comments

  • Sumangali Morhall
    Posted February 28, 2008 8:22 am 0Likes

    I haven’t got anything profound to say, but I must say that I really, really like this post. I especially like the portrayal of a poet as optimist, in these lines:

    “A realist, two feet planted firmly on the ground, looks down and pronounces that this, here and now, is life. A poet instead dreams of flight, and bravely leaps up into the air…”

    …and of course the perfectly chosen quote from Sri Chinmoy

    Sumangali Morhall’s last blog post..Pure Web Designs

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted February 28, 2008 8:51 pm 0Likes

    Thank you Sumangali. It really means something to be complimented so by a very fine writer herself.

  • Alf
    Posted February 28, 2008 9:35 pm 0Likes

    A triumphant crescendo of a piece.

    I have been watching some films of late. Once was a great film and a great soundtrack. Highly recommended. Juno was another feel good film I enjoyed.

    Alf’s last blog post..A lake, a lake, my kingdom for a lake

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted February 29, 2008 10:17 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the recommendations (and comment) Alf. I am always on the lookout for another beautiful moment in film—hence the intentional adding of a “#1” to the title of this post.

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