Thursday, March 22, 2012

Running on Empty

This post isn’t about my state of being (though it could be, given that I battled with flu last weekend, while nursing a feverish six year old, and trying to cope with writing deadlines and day jobs).
No, this blog post isn’t about me - it’s about a movie I caught my mother watching the other night.

I didn’t even need a minute to recognise the movie. The surprising thing is that my mother remembered it. “I saw this a long time ago,” she said. I know. I’m the one who made her watch it. And all because it had River Phoenix in it. [Yes, I know I just dated myself!] 

The movie is Running on Empty, and contrary to what I might have thought at the time it first came out, it’s not all about River Phoenix.

It’s a poignant story about family relationships. So poignant that I used up quite a few tissues re-watching it with my mother

It’s the story of a couple (Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch) who’ve lived on the run from the FBI for nearly fifteen years. With their two sons (the eldest playedby River Phoenix), they are constantly on the move, trusting no-one, always looking over their shoulders. It's an inside look at the stress of this life, and the incredibly close bonds within this family who only have each other. The central theme of the film is the relationship between parents and their children.

It’s also a movie about choices, and having to live with the consequences of one’s choices. Or as my mother (a high school teacher) said, “if only this movie weren’t too slow moving for the current generation I’d making it compulsory viewing, as kids today just don’t understand consequences.” Be that as it may, the one consequence of this film was that the bitter-sweet ending helped me sit down and write a really moving scene. And that’s just about the highest compliment I can pay any film.

If you haven’t seen this film - or haven’t seen it in a while - do yourself a favour and watch it. 

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