I took a moment to see the highly anticipated movie, Flight, on opening night. It was nothing i thought it would be. Previews made it appear to be a movie about heroism and bravery. And in a way it was that...but of a different type. Instead of the heroism that gets publicly celebrated in the media, creating a larger than life caricature of a person who put her/himself in harm's way to save lives, what i saw in this movie was that to a small degree, but mainly a deeply wounded person struggling with addictions, lying to himself and others, causing emotional harm to those who came near to him....but one who in the end made the decision to come clean, face consequences and develop within himself a sense of integrity.
Flight is a story about many things and each person who sees it will walk away with her/his lessons, analyses and criticisms. (And i am not a movie critic nor to i pretend to know how to analyze movies in ways that help others understand them.) What spoke to me was how people often anesthetize emotions such as pain, insecurities, sadness or fear with various practices that make them feel better about being in the world. And that the hooks of those practices get deeply embedded, becoming addictions. I am not suggesting, however, that addictions evolve only in response to negative emotions; capitalist culture in general promotes addictive and unhealthy practices: growing up surrounded by messaging and practices that says a persons worth is valued by her/his (or family's) money/wealth; being presented food choices in grocery stores of highly processed, sugar/salt/fat-laden foods; watching television shows in which characters routinely drink alcohol as though it were as much a part of the day as brushing one's teeth or eating dinner.
I guess what i am saying - or what i want to have said in the end - is that in this movie, what i saw (or what i was reminded of) were regular people struggling with addictions and bad habits, making choices at some point to do better - one small step at a time - and doing better then worse....but then getting back up again. And then when faced with having to take a stand - do i lie or do i tell the truth? do i stay in a situation where i would be likely to use or do i leave? - both did the right thing.
And this is an important lesson - will i measure up when the time comes?