I could have been someone...
Andrew Sullivan, had a nice idea for a competition "Best. Movie. Line. Ever."
Here are the three winners:
Discommunication, hypocrisy and the pathos of self-pity. Funny, isn't it, how these three best lines resonate with us, for some reason or another, as well as they did with their audiences at the time of their first screenings?
Of the three, I can say that the only one I have a problem with is the Brando character's famous accusation to his brother. He is a bum and blames his brother for it. Funny, though, that as soon as he realizes what and who he is, he immediately falls into the convenient trap of blaming someone else for his being a failure. As though he were a will-less puppet, incapable of independent thinking and making different choices. As long as his conscience had been asleep, he was quite happy to go along with the perks of being his brother's brother. Now that his lives in a heightened state of consciousness, due to the love of good woman, his conscience is awake, too. He can no longer hide from his weaknesses. But he is not yet a grownup man, and the guilt and shame he feels must be shunted off onto another. And what better other, than on to his brother, who has been looking after him, in his own fashion, all these years? His brother who ends up paying with his life for Terry's awakening.
In a way, Terry never grows up, never gets to have that class, to be that something the he longs to be. Greatness will continue to elude him. The woman who loves him takes on the burden of protecting him from himself. And as she is a truly good woman, he may yet live to shed his own "bumness". But will he ever become his own man, with full agency and control over his choices? I don't think the end of the movie reassures us, which is probably why I never considered it a "happy end".
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Saturday, September 22, 2007