Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finally saw "Wall-e." Wow!

I finally saw the movie “Wall-e.” (Spoiler alert—discussion of movie themes follow.) It is a fabulous meditation on learning to love and balance our work (our "directive") with love. Why was I so affected by the struggles of two robots? Both characters felt deeply true to me—both expressed a deep archetypal dimension of modern life.

The bumbling, trembling Wall-e reminds me that heroes can be (and often are) afraid. His example calls me to act courageously (writing a revealing blog post) despite my own terror. Wall-e’s selflessness and generosity also inspired me. No matter the circumstance, this tender hero would introduce himself and learn the name of each character he meets. Could I also spread more love into the world through simple kindness and attention to others?

Eve is a tough-minded probe: she shoots first and asks questions later. I’m struck by the familiar archetype and irony of it--the sleek, efficient, working woman in charge of finding/restoring life is a sterile machine without any warmth herself. How familiar to me! I see myself and many other modern women--cut off from our natural tenderness. We serve our directives and nothing else—our machine-like precision focused on an ideal of house, family, and job. Like Eve, I have a powerful dedication to my vocation that can sometimes overwhelm other parts of my life. How fortunate that Wall-e pursues her. As I watched Eve soften and discover love, I felt myself soften.

Wall-e and Eve are both wonderful and flawed—just like all real people. Eve will probably always be a workaholic but Wall-e loves her despite (or maybe because of) this trait. One of the most moving moments of the movie is when Wall-e insists that Eve continue her work, despite his great need for her help. He is acting from principle, seeking the greatest good for the world, but he is also loving Eve in a remarkable way. He is supporting her to follow her own powerful instincts—to be her true self. That’s love.

In Wall-e, both characters refuse conformity and fight for their own unique paths in their work and in love. I’m reminded to do the same.

What movie has inspired you?

© Lewis-Barr 2008
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