While the talk about this will undoubtedly be along the lines of Angelina Jolie getting an Oscar, I am amazed at the number of people in my small town/city that showed up to see the movie this past weekend. I went to a 7:15 pm showing on Saturday night in a fairly conservative upstate NY city. There were probably around 75 other people at this same showing. It was an intimate setting as it was in one of the smaller theatres in a 12 theatre location. Most were sitting in the upper portion so it felt like a closer, smaller setting than it was.
I found it very hard to concentrate on the movie. I didn’t go watch those other movies that were based around history that I have lived through. I have stayed far away from movies about Vietnam. I have very strange memories of that time in this country’s history. I remember my cousin’s husband’s draft number coming up. He was a psychiatric nurse so was truly needed but still, it was traumatic. I remember the news breaking into television to report the results/conclusion of the Lieutenant Calley courtmartial. I have vivid memories of the flag-draped coffins. I have vivid memories of those who ended up in the Phillipines for help after the war.
I found the events of September 11th hit too close to home. Too many of my son’s friends have been to Afghanistan and Iraq. Too many things remind me of that time. Yet, something about A Mighty Heart drew me to go see the movie. I didn’t see Fahrenheit 9/11 and I didn’t see United 93. I did see A Mighty Heart.
Watching the chaos in the streets of Islamabad and Karuchi, I have a new appreciation for US cities. I have always loved San Francisco, which – for its size – is a clean and quiet city. I have always loved Boston as it too, at least pre-Big Dig, was clean. I have never loved NYC but I visit frequently or use to. I like Atlanta but enjoy the suburbs there more than the actual city. The cities shown in A Mighty Heart were dirty. They were very crowded but not crowded with businessmen trying to hail a cab or run to the subway. They were crowded with dirt and beggars and people who were struggling to survive. While I think of NYC as dirty, it is not. You can see the streets. On the streets of Karuchi, you could see the dirt.
Watching the ability of the police in Pakistan to barge into residences with guns drawn gave me a new appreciation for the rights we have in the US. I know that these very rights are being slowly eroded in the name of the “war on terrorism,” but I do not see these rights going away ever. I do not see police in the US being able to barge into the home of the relative of a suspect with guns drawn. I do not see police in the US being able to torture suspects or those who have information without repercussions.
I found it hard to watch a movie where I had watched the real event unfold in the news. This may be the largest drawback to A Mighty Heart being a box office hit. A lot of people will find it hard to watch for that reason alone. Yet, the quiet that was in the small theatre in upstate NY last Saturday brought respect to the movie, to the dead and to the living involved.