21 Grams

Tonight I watched a movie about three of the most miserable people on Earth. It’s called “21 Grams,” and it gets it title from the notion that a person loses 21 grams of body weight at the moment of death. Dreary, isn’t it? That idea is probably the most uplifting aspect of the film. I won’t spoil the story because I believe the movie is worth watching once–just once, though. Like “Monster’s Ball,” it’s too much to go through twice. “21 Grams” tells a story about forgiveness and redemption, about which of these we are able to give to ourselves and to each other and which we need to get from somewhere else, like perhaps God. But there isn’t really religion in this movie. Too much hope in religion, you know. Even Sachen thought this movie was depressing. He kept sighing and shifting in his chair as if he were having trouble sleeping through it. I find myself simultaneously wondering if there is merit in making these kinds of hopeless movies and wishing I could write something this good. The characters are stuck in circumstances they neither created nor can change and their honest and raw pain is fascinating and compelling. We know where it’s going and that’s exactly where it goes. The only time “21 Grams” surprised me was when the characters screamed, which is natural a response to this kind of horrible, twisted, devastating situation. I also find myself uncomfortable with my attraction to these kinds of films, full of depressed and depressing characters, and also with my desire to write something like it.