Films · Reviews

Are the bad things in life a ‘gift’?

I recently watched the film ‘The Gift’  (2015) directed by Joel Edgerton, staring himself, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall.  The film featured a happily married couple (Simon and Robyn, played by Bateman and Hall) who had just moved from Los Angeles to Chicago. One day during a shopping trip, they bump into one of Simon’s old class mates Gordon (referred to as ‘Gordo’), played by Edgerton. The dynamics of their relationship quickly turns sour, and the audience is thrown into a tantalising tale of lies and twist, all linking back to a haunting past. The film keeps viewers on the edge of their seat as they see the unravelling of Simon and Gordon’s relationship and what exactly happened 20 years ago.

This film is absolutely fantastic. The whole film is shrouded in mystery as you try and work out who the characters actually are and their relation to one another. The film is so carefully crafted audiences are left with a mixture of intrigue and genuine fear, a fantastic directing debut for Edgerton. The acting, in general, was incredibly realistic – we were shown ‘people’ not caricatures. Particularly by Bateman, I had only seen him in the ‘Horrible Bosses’ franchise, so wasn’t sure what to expect.I was pleasantly surprised. His acting has a very mature flair, and he can quickly weave between different emotions and expressions.

The film touches on some very real themes of forgiveness, morality and past experiences. One line that particularly stuck with me during the film was said by Edgerton’s character: “I believe the bad things in life, they can be a gift”. We often see in films and TV shows the iconic trope of ‘misery builds character’ -they go through ridiculously brutal circumstances, but in the end are stronger than ever. But I wonder how realistic this is? Is suffering really necessary to become stronger, or better yet, to ultimately improve oneself? To be honest, I think this approach is a bit simplistic, one needs to take into account the individual person, their past experiences and the actual event that occurs.

I can’t write too much about the film overall, as I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s definitely a must see, 9/10

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