Sunday, July 09, 2017

Broken, Brokenness, and Wholeness

My husband wanted me to watch TV with him last night and had found a recommended movie on Amazon Prime called Broken.  There are a number of movies by that title; this is the 2012 version with Tim Roth (whom I always think of us a bad guy, the villain in that Liam Neeson movie about Scotlant) and Cillian Murphy (whom I always think of as a psycho from a Batman movie).

It took me a bit to get into the movie.  The narrative is linear, sort of, very impressionistic and a little disjointed, with very short scenes and a lot of cuts.  The acting is very good; the language and how people speak to each other is vulgar (and I would say here that that is my problem with bad language--it is emblematic of bad relationships, and truly is in this film).  After I decided to stick it out, there was a pretty good payoff in the last 15 minutes or so, and that sort of redeemed the rough going of the previous hour or more.  So I recommend it, with a caveat that it is depressing.

It concerns three families on a cul-de-sac in North London.  Family 1 is comprised of Skunk, a 12-year-old who reminded me of Scout in TKAM; her brother; her father, who is a lawyer trying to raise his children after their mother's departure for another man or adventure; and their nanny, who has an Eastern European accent.  She has, at the beginning, a boyfriend who decides to break it off with her, but who also ends up as Skunk's teacher as she enters what I guess is secondary school.  Skunk has Type 1 diabetes, but she also likes to run around a junk yard.  Identical twins go around on scooters and fling plastic bags of excrement at worthy targets.  Skunk meets a boy her age who is really an Irish traveler, and he has to go with his family to swindle others.  (There are touches of Oliver Twist here, with the children being unsupervised and running around the streets.)

The second family is a mother, father, and their grown who has a mild developmental disorder or autism or a mental illness.  The third family is a father with three daughters who are described as one reviewer as feral, and they are.   The mother has died of cancer and the father has absolutely no coping skills whatsoever, or filter, or ability to control his temper.  Because he thinks the neighbor with a disorder has attacked the middle daughter, he beats him up.  Later he thinks the teacher did, and beats him up.  He beats the TV up because he thinks the middle daughter has drugs.  He is a ball of rage, but we don't have a really good reason to understand why, other than grief and fear for his daughter's safety, but these chicks can take care of themselves if they had to.   

So it starts, and what we see is what happens to families when adults are too concerned about their own lives, wants, emotions, and so-called needs to pay sufficient attention to their children.  Tim Roth's character is the best and therefore has the best relationship with his children, although the boy gets caught up with the skanky girl next door, but even he suffers great pains of conscience for it.

While I recommend it, I don't in the sense that no movie is a necessity for anyone.  But it did get me thinking about brokenness, which is one of the themes our pastor is discussing now in a sermon on the family.  Brokenness is inevitable at a certain level, from humanness, but some brokenness is intentional from bad choices and some is avoidable if we are mindful of it.  Awareness is the first step; only if I realize there are parts of me that are broken can I stop judging others and start healing.  Openness is the second, that there are things I can do and that I must be open to those things and not dismiss them.  They usually involve asking forgiveness (which means admitting to another you are broken), sacrifice (giving up something or many things so that wholeness can come about) and hard work (it's not a one-time occurrence).

Total Wholeness is an impossible state for us at the present time, but our inability to reach perfection (which Biblically means wholeness or completion) is never an excuse for not moving in that direction.

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