Whenever I ask my daughter what she’d like to watch on TV or at the movies, her pat answer is, “Nothing Sad. Nothing Serious.”
She wouldn’t like Demolition. At least, that's what she thought. So we left her at home.
That’s not to say Demolition is all sad and all serious. There’s humor, love friendship and all that other stuff, too. And all of it is done extremely well.
Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the best actors today with a last name that is hard to spell, plays Davis, an upwardly-mobile investment counselor who suffers depression when his wife dies in an automobile accident. While at the hospital immediately after her death, he attempts to order a pack of Peanut M&Ms from a vending machine, but the candy gets stuck in the machine. He writes a letter of complaint to the service department, which eventually results in a personal relationship with the service agent and her son.
What follows is Davis’ journey through the numbness of depression and how it impacts his relationships with those around him. His stepfather tells him, “Repairing the human heart is like repairing an automobile. You have to take everything apart to examine everything. Then you can put it all back together.” So Davis does. He disassembles his leaking refrigerator, a restroom stall and eventually his house.
Demolition is a great movie. It deals with the way one man deals with severe depression, and yet, the flick is not depressing. Grief is a part of life. Everyone faces it. It is not something we should fear or dread or avoid. Davis’ father-in-law expresses our tendency to avoid the topic when he says (something like), “When a woman’s husband dies, she’s called a widow. When a parent dies, we call his child an orphan. But when a child dies, we don’t have a word to describe his parents.” There-in lies the strength of Demolition. It helps us accept and understand severe depression.
As I’ve said before, good stories help us feel, empathize, understand the world around us. Demolition does that. It is a good story.
Shameless plug: The depression Davis feels is, in a very small sense, similar to the way my main character manages the depression brought about when he loses his brother in my upcoming YA/NA book, Camp Fear (Solstice Press).
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Stories are stories, whether they are recited around a roaring campfire, printed on paper or projected on a screen. And, stories should say something.