Miracles and Being Saved

I saw two things of note this week. The movie Miraculum and a moment in Season 1, Episode 5 of the TV show The Killing (available on Netflix). I'm not making connections, just recos (which I use for the word 'recommendations' on this blog).

One of my favourite pastimes is watching foreign, especially French, movies, and although I was bilingual il y a longtemps, I confess to using subtitles now. Usually I go for the dramatic types of films. Miraculum certainly delivered. (Ignore the bad reviews on imdb BTW.)

You can call it a religious film or you can call it an anti-religious film, but ça ne fait rien. It is slow-building, but I got sucked into the beauty of its starkness, be it in the airport, the Kingdom Hall, or the lonely houses. Being a minimalist aesthetically, I liked the silences, the characters’ contemplations and the crap weather, which wove together to create a good ol’ depressing mood. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, happy ending diversion, keep on walking. The ending came with a mighty wallop that left me reeling with all its implications. Like all good downer stories, the story and its themes stuck with me for days. To avoid spoiler alerts, I’ll just say that Miraculum does and yet does not contain miracles, and it is about redemption, whether you believe in God or not. Highly recommend this. For a movie with a budget of less than $5 million, it’s impressive.

The other thing that has been sticking with me is the show The Killing, i.e., the 2011 English version of the Danish hit. Mireille Enos is such a breath of fresh air as a cop NOT flaunting a bod, blonde hair and perfect makeup (nice casting, people!) and the B.C. backdrop is as miserably grey as Montreal’s in Miraculum: good for mood reflection.

This has been a very hard series for me to watch. I don’t love the horror genre because of its gore, but I love thrillers and can handle violence to the level of 24 or Homeland. What is killing me about The Killing is that I am identifying too closely with the parents of the murdered teen. [Sidebar: do we have to name every cop show victim with cutesy names? Why aren’t the innocent slain called Constance or Helen, for pete’s sake? Sorry. Pet peeve.] I’ve seen a billion shows about dead children, but for some reason, this one is really getting to me, and after each episode, I keep thinking I don’t want to watch any more of them. Behold the power of good acting and direction.

The episode “Super 8” includes a scene in which the still largely in-shock mother drags herself to the grocery store and tries valiantly to connect in the produce section with an acquaintance who cannot return her wave, presumably because her child is not dead and what the hell is she supposed to say to the poor woman, anyway? She is drawn to her late daughter’s favourite cereal brand. The painful scene ends when the mum, Mitch Larsen, leaves the cereal aisle, slowly pushing her grocery cart, and in the background, part of the store’s signage is showing: “…& Save”. It left me breathless. Unintentional, I bet, but it made me want to see her saved from her trauma and grief. Perhaps it was intentional irony about the daughter not being saved. But I understand that walking through a half life in the wake of trauma, and it ain’t pretty. Mostly, though, I can’t stop personalizing the storyline and thinking of my children (even though they are adults) as victims of such a crime and of my grief if I were confronted with that scenario. I’m not sure yet if I will continue to watch the series, but if I do, I will watch for other similar moments that grace the storyline.


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