Everybody grieves in a different way. Ever since the passing of his wife Davis Mitchell likes to pull apart and destroy objects that seem broken in his life. This begins with a creaking door, a flashing light bulb, a computer, and finally the house he shared with his wife. Mitchell finds it easier to talk to strangers then his own family, and finds himself metaphorically and physically numb in his daily, very exhausting and repetitive routine. The characteristics of the main characters of this film are identifiable transitions one makes through the stages of grief.
The two strangers he meets are Mother Karen and her son Chris. There is a quality in Karen that is very different to anybody in Mitchell’s family. She is able to make anyone be their absolute and true self around her. This is clear in the scenes between Mitchell and his father-in-law and Mitchell and Karen. Mitchell’s has this metaphorical brick wall surrounding him as he converses with his father, however with Karen he is able to talk about his wife with a glimpse of a smile on his face. Karen deeply needs to give affection and feel affection from her son, however she diminishes herself with drugs. It is not clear wether this could be a bad thing or not. At first it seemed so, it seemed like a dirty secret as she tried to hide away in her car. However, I’m not sure if its what led her to influence Mitchell’s character in letting go in his life. Karen is the transition in one’s grief where the person blames themselves even if it may not be their fault. She is the various transitions between letting go, waking up, and giving in.
Chris is fifteen and struggles with his identity. He is the beacon of light in Mitchell’s world as he helps him destroy the house he shared with his wife. Chris is stubborn, but no matter how angry or adult he tries to be, he is still a little boy who just wants some answers and guidance. He listens to Mitchell and looks up to him, and Mitchell listens to him. He reminds Mitchell that music is intoxicating and dancing is a remedy. Chris is the transition in grief where one discovers that there is no shame in listening to the people who care about you, there is no shame in facing the truth, there is no shame in dancing in public.
The audience may assume that it wasn’t about Mitchell loosing his wife, it was about Mitchell himself. However, I think it most definitely is about his wife. There lies grief in her as well.
Each character see’s something in one another. They push past the person they are trying to be, and try to peer into the person they are. A truly great film.