Wind River wasn’t content being a wonderfully paced, gripping film. No, it wanted to make some statements – the type of statements we so cherish at Think Laugh Cry. So we shall evaluate the movie’s three major claims on a 7-point scale.
This was a statement about the responsibility of parenthood. Wrapped within a poignant scene, it was cogent. But in isolation, I’m not as convinced.
Yes, there is no greater responsibility than parenthood. Yes, there is no situation that is harder to extradite oneself from than being a parent. Yes, you will probably be concerned about your child’s safety until you die.
So in those senses, the statement resonates. It also makes parenthood sound positively terrible; what sane person wants that type of stress?
And this is where the comment begins unraveling. The speaker, Cory, is holding himself to an impossible standard. A really unlucky thing happened to his daughter. That’s all. Spending the weekend with your wife cannot be considered “blinking.” At some point you’ve got to trust your kid (and the probabilities) instead of hating yourself for every single bad thing that happens. This is especially true when that bad thing is so random and so clearly not the result of a parental negligence.
Easier said than done when your kid is dead? Totally. But still.
5 out of 7
Oh, how it’s nice to believe this is true. To believe that we have supreme agency and control over our lives. To believe that you are thriving because of your own hard work and determination, and not because a shooter who kills you 99 times out of 100 momentarily glitches. What, the slain didn’t want to survive as much? They surrendered? Please. This is the height of narcissism.
Still, it’s a pretty catchy phrase that’s not that terrible to believe. (Except for the whole not being true part and how it necessarily fills one with arrogance and blame for the deceased. That’s all pretty bad.)
3 out of 7
Are some losses so great (in this case, the death of Cory’s daughter) that the pain will never leave? And if that’s true, is it worth remembering her (and possibly ruining your own life)?
This is a territory where I admit that my lack of experience with the worst thing ever (a kid’s death) may make it seem unfair and a little condescending to comment on the claim (the same thing can be said about my judgment of the first statement).
Nevertheless, I’ve been tasked with a job, and I shall proceed with these misgivings. It is common to believe that negative emotions are a necessary fact of existence. So instead of getting rid of these feelings, we should “learn to live” with them. Plus, you can’t really enjoy the good things without bad things, right?
I’m not here to say this is necessarily wrong. I am here to say this is not the only way. Take a dip into Stoic philosophy, and you will find powerful, thoughtful people who effectively banished interminable negative emotions. (Note: Stoicism does NOT mean being emotionless.)
From Seneca’s Letter LXIII to Lucilius:
4 out of 7