Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Boyhood

Saw the movie Boyhood. I know it is old but I can't be bothered to see the latest movies. The movie was very good in that it draws you in and makes you care about the characters. It is not good in what they do with it once they have your interest. There is a searching and a longing for something truly meaningful in life. None of the characters actually finds anything. That is kind of the point they are trying to make but it is quite an unsatisfying point.

One thing that did capture my They came dangerously close to making some points just by accident. One episode had me thinking. Mason has sex with his girlfriend, Mindy, and ends up regretting it. He thinks sex is a big deal to her. That she only agrees to it because she has strong feelings for him. Then she sleeps with another guy without knowing him very long. She has no remorse about it. It just blows his mind. What he thought was a deep sexual connection with a fascinating woman turned out to be a very cheap and confusing encounter with someone he didn't know that well after all.

The question becomes how to avoid this kind of thing in the future. His father tells him you can't avoid it. You just get drunk and move on. Typical of the advice kids get in this movie. Yet what if he serious wanted to avoid it? What if he wanted to make sure his partner was not being casual about sex? The thing is it seemed like Mason and Mindy were both virgins. The movie does not explicitly say so but you get the idea they are going slow because neither is that comfortable with sex.

The point is that just asking if your prospective partner is a virgin is not enough. What you really need to know is what their philosophy of sex is going to be in the future. After the inhibitions wear off what are you going to want to do? How can anyone possible know that? If your sexual morality depends on how you feel about something today then you can't. But what if it doesn't? If your morality comes from God and you can't change it just because some college jock swept you off your feet then you can know that.

Remember it was not so much about what she did but about how she viewed her actions. Casual sex was now fine and therefore all her sex became casual. It was not a matter of making a mistake but a matter of changing the meaning of sex. Making sex mean what we want it to mean sounds appealing at first but it creates a confusing world where our most intimate relationships can be redefined at any time. Mason knew intuitively that he didn't want that. Yet he didn't know how to avoid it. It is something just not available outside of Christian communities.

Mason knew this because his mother has made a mess of her love life. She went from one bad relationship to the next looking for financial security for her children but sacrificing every other type of security. She does have a moment of wisdom late in the movie. She talks about being celibate and in the next breath she turns around and talks about being a whore. She realizes she has really been giving sex and getting money. She had a lot of relationships with men who were good providers but not good husbands or fathers. She wonders if that was a mistake. If she just remained celibate she would have been poor but she would have more self-respect. Maybe that would have been better for her children.

Mason always wanted his mom and dad to get back together. So the movie has an unspoken undertone that divorce is bad. So you married a jerk. So he yells too much and drinks too much. The next guy is unlikely to be much better for you and very unlikely to be better for you kids. People mature. Give it a chance. The Catholic idea that she could kick him out but neither part should pursue another romance would have worked well. They may or may not have gotten back together. They certainly would have been spared a lot of heartache.


It is the strange thing about Catholicism. You can't avoid it. This movie seems like it is trying to be nihilistic. Yet it is fairly easy to pick out some Catholic themes. I know people will say I am imagining them but I don't think so. Some of the most ridiculed ideas in Catholicism get argued for quite strongly. Strongly mostly because you know they are not preaching this. If a Catholic made a movie with such themes you would just say they are imagining these characters having these feelings and saying these things. Yet when a secular person comes out with it you feel like it confirms Catholicism fits with the truth about humanity. 

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