Thursday, May 21, 2009

Transformation

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I taught masculine psychology using segments from film to illustrate key points. Ok, I'll be honest, it wasn't all that long ago and it didn't occur in another galaxy, but the rest is true. I was interested in the way contemporary film depicted situations involving conflict, loss, growth, and transformation and experimented using various scenes as springboards for discussion.

As it turned out, it was a very effective tool because it allowed us to actually see a situation unfold and in many cases, it was extremely evocative. In a discussion about the role of fathers in parenting, we viewed scenes from Field of Dreams and at one point, nearly all of the men were wiping tears. These great guys were literally hungry for something to help them become better husbands, fathers, and men. They wanted to experience reconciliation in their relationships and within themselves.

One of the things I've noticed is, there are a number of films that depict male characters trying to cope with failure, right an old wrong, or achieve something personally meaningful. Rudy, The Natural, Invincible, and The Ghost and the Darkness, come to mind immediately.

Films depicting female transformation, however, aren't as common and that's unfortunate. Norma Rae and Fried Green Tomatoes are among the best, as well as John MacTiernan's Medicine Man with Lorraine Bracco and Sean Connery.

To tell the truth, I think Medicine Man may just be the best example I've ever seen and I'll tell you why. In this film, Dr. Rae Crane (Bracco) is a biochemist who journeys to the Amazon Basin to find elusive scientist Dr. Robert Campbell (Connery). When she arrives, she is a woman of the city, competent, smart, and wise in the ways of the corporate drug industry. As the story unfolds, she finds herself in conflict with Campbell, the environment, and her beliefs about herself.

As much as I'd like to outline the story for you I'm going to resist: it's too good and you should see it for yourself. What I will tell you is, she comes to new awareness of who she is, not what others have made her out to be. She is admirable, courageous, and eventually connects with her own strength to make the choices of the heart. If you think I love this film, you're right. I hope you will, too.


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