[Synopsis: Life for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident. Based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by John Cameron Mitchell and starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest.]
Becca: Does it ever go away?
Nat: No, I don’t think it does. Not for me, it hasn’t – has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
Nat: I don’t know… the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and… carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you… you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful – not all the time. It’s kinda… [deep breath] … not that you’d like it exactly, but it’s what you’ve got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And it doesn’t go away. Which is…
Becca: Which is what?
Nat: Fine, actually.
If “The Truman Show”, ” Man on the Moon” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” were the only movies Jim Carrey had ever made, we’d barely remember his name, but when we did, we’d think of him as an Actor. That’s right. The capital “A” kind. But of course, those aren’t the only movies he ever made and they’re not what turned him into an eye-rolling, guffawing household name. It was, however, the caliber of those films and the possibility of a similar performance, which brought me to the theater for “The Number 23″.
The plot is basic enough. An ordinary guy with an ordinary life gets sucked into the psychosis of a novelist whose numerological obsession has overtaken his life. As Walter (Carrey) gets deeper into the book, he begins to envision himself and those around him as the characters within it. It’s in these heavy-handed and highly-stylized scenes from the novel that everything goes glaringly wrong with the film. Or deliciously right.
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As the ending credits rolled on Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers,” my son G.T. leaned in close, and whispered, “Well? How many?” It is the question he always asks, and I love that he still cares enough about my opinion, to ask it.
You see, I am a bleeding-heart pacifist, cohabitating with a miniature warmonger. There are nicer ways to express this, but none of them demonstrates the political and ideological divide that separates my 14-year-old son and me. For a while, I figured it was one of those phases he’d grow out of. I even gave in to his choice of Summer Youth Programs, and sent him to Camp Pendleton for 10 days, in hopes that a taste of Boot Camp might change his mind. It didn’t. More than ever and more than anything, he wants to be a soldier.
The whole thing might well have become unmanageable, except for the Saturday Afternoon Truce, instated more than a year ago, and resulting in the shared experience of according to my Netflix account history 62 war-related films. What history teachers left out or glossed over during my educational years, this teenaged historian is all too delighted to teach me. So much so that I have to hide the remote, so he can’t pause every few minutes with trivia. “Do you see that plane there? We only used those in the Pacific Theater.” “Wow, OK. Can you hit PLAY again?”
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