I recently watched The Fountain (2006) and I’ve been absolutely obsessed with it. Some of the deeper running themes of the movie coincide with the theme of this blog so I’m going to do a short review on it.
Ok there are spoilers here. Read on at your own peril.
In each of the three parallel stories the main character is resistant to change, in fact in the other “present” and “future” storylines, it is more than just resistance but rather downright refusal to accept change. Tom, in the present, does not want his wife to die and ignores the breakthrough research in using the bark of the tree in favor of finding a cure for his wife’s cancer. When it is revealed that that bark can actually reverse the effects of her tumor, it is already too late. Tom still refuses to let go of his wife and even at the point of the funeral stating, “Death is a disease, it's like any other. And there's a cure. A cure - and I will find it.” This quote is significant because it’s indicative of his stasis. He won’t let go of his dead wife or accept her death and so works to find a cure for death—eternal life. It’s interesting to note that during this quest to end death, Tom never finishes the book (the past storyline) that his wife asked him to finish.
The future storyline represents the stasis in all of us brought to an extreme level. Tom has been floating through space with a tree (representative of his wife) for the past thousand years. They’re travelling to the nebula Xiabalba for her rebirth. But as the course of the story enfolds, the tree dies and he is forced to look back at the events of his life with her and how he never finished the book.
I want to say here that I feel that the book is a symbol of the things we know we should do but we don’t do. For Tom to finish the book, Tom would have to “grow up” and let go of his wife finally because he would have to accept that she’s gone and he has to move on without her. But because he’s comfortable with her, comfortable with her memory, and strangely comfortable with his own pain in her loss, he never wants to let go of her.
This is reflective of one of the larger themes in this blog. What is trapping us from moving on? I think each of us that are part of this trend of delayed adolescence are being held back by some kind of “book” we won’t finish writing. Walking around today on campus, I realized I’m too comfortable here. I don’t want to graduate yet because I’m a little wary of the outside world and its terrible economy.
Your thoughts? Discuss here.