You remember when I said that once in a while, there’s a movie that comes along and changes the way you perceive your own world? A piece of work that will touch every single chord in your body and make you question every decision you’ve made recently, as well as the ones you could make in a near future?
Demolition, Jean-Marc Vallée’s newest film, slapped me so hard in the face that I’m still sore a month after seeing it. Maybe I should start with a bit of background, just to make you understand how a 21-year-old French girl felt like the story of a 35-year-old man who just lost his wife was like looking into a mirror.
For the most part of my life, cinema has been a huge relief. I learned a lot about myself, my surroundings, and everything else. I guess it’s why I’m writing reviews now and why I’d like to make my own movies someday. In the past few months, life hasn’t been too exciting in this part of the world, and I found myself growing in anger with each passing day. Anger at what I read, anger at people’s close-mindedness, anger at myself for being unable to speak up or stand out etc…
To witness this character – who after a rather traumatic event slowly loses it – doing and thinking exactly what I’ve been bottling inside of me for quite sometimes, felt incredibly cathartic.
That dance scene? Every time I’m walking down the street it’s the only thing I want to do.
Tearing a house apart? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamed of throwing all my stuff through the window and destroy my room.
Wondering “what people need for 3 days in Buffalo”? I also think that with people’s apartments.
Being honest and going up to people you don’t know? I mean, everyone wants to be able to do this.
But the moment I connected to the most was the last scene. Davis is on the pier and starts running with a bunch of kids. I couldn’t understand why, but I burst into tears at that precise moment. Sure, the character is getting closure, yet for me, it was about more than that. It’s about being free to choose to do what you love. Being spontaneous is what I envied about Davis the most.
Demolition makes me want to take my world apart and reconstruct it. I don’t particularly like my life, I can’t seem to know where I’m going, and I feel stuck. I can’t really sleep anymore and I’m having more and more difficulty focusing on important stuff. I wish I could find the switch, much like Davis found through dealing, or not, with his grief.
In a way, Demolition made something click for me. He spends so much time paying attention to little unimportant details (his fridge leaking, the bathroom door squeaking…), that he’s missing the bigger issue. That’s pretty much me.
I don’t want to be stuck anymore. I want to get out and shout on top of my lungs that I’m capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, no matter how scared I am. I wanna dance, be spontaneous, and run (and at times fly, but that’s another story for another time).
Davis has a conversation that resonated with me when he’s talking to Karen (Naomi Watts) on the train. When he’s asked why did he ever married Julia, his dead wife, he answers that it was the easy thing to do. Later in the doctor’s office, he says he’s been numb for 10 to 12 years. 12 years of mechanically doing what people expect you to do because it’s the easy way to go, it’s really scary. Most people do this now, I’ve watched my own mother do it for many years before finally doing something she actually liked.
Worst of all, I think it’s society and people around us that make us give up like this. Davis wasn’t trying anything new in his life. He never noticed what his wife did for him and he was just passively miserable, following patterns and rules. We’re all required to work no matter if we like what we do or not, the people in our lives always ask the eternal “when are you gonna meet someone?” etc…
Demolition had a strong impact on me. It was an instinctive and very personal experience. I’d say that I understand why some people hated their insight into this man’s mind. There are various ways to interpret what you see according to what you live or lived in your life.
I’ve read a review from a French newspaper that at first infuriated me but made me realize something. For him, Demolition was the most stupid movie he’d ever seen. He then explained the entire plot in a sulky child-like way. But what I realized is that it was a personal response to what he saw.
He felt infuriated to have wasted 2 hours of his life watching Demolition, much like me every time I watch a David O’Russell movie. So even if I completely disagree with his point of view, that’s what I like to read. Less of the elitist BS reviews written in golden letters, and more of the simple, raw and emotion-driven responses to what we can see on our silver screens.
Think about it! I’ve read other reviews saying something along the lines of “Oh this director made mildly successful commercial movies in the past, he’s too overrated, so considering all this, it sucked.” Since when is a movie about how successful/popular it is and not about how it makes someone feel anymore? Oh right, since it’s an industry principally interested in money.
Who cares about characters, stories, and emotions, let’s just make a post about box-office numbers today… We shouldn’t measure the value of a film by how popular or bankable it is.
Personal feelings aside for one second, the soundtrack added to Gyllenhaal’s and Lewis’ incredible performances had me jumping on my seat. When I can embrace a character and forget the actor, it makes all the difference.
Judah Lewis said in an interview that the power of film was that “It can change somebody’s view on something.” On my way home, I had a stupid grin on my face, I was blasting Rebel Rebel, I started to run, and I felt free. Well F*ck, thank you Jean-Marc Vallée.
When Was the Last Time a Movie
Made You Feel Something?