Saw this movie on Friday night and loved it. Complex plot, interesting setting (the rivalry between two stage magicians in Victorian London), great photography, mostly great acting, no sex scenes or bad language (an unusual bonus) and only a little violence (but very nasty, I had to turn my eyes away a couple of times, but then I have a VERY low threshold for coping with on screen violence – I mean, I’m the girl who can’t bear to watch a football match (rugby, this is Australia) because it’s too violent!!
It raised some issues worth pondering though. (I don’t want to give away any of the plot, it would spoil it) but the nature of identity is one of them. What makes me “me”? What are the boundaries of this thing I call my “self”? How much of “me” can be taken away before I cease to exist? How do I define what is “me” from what is not me? How far can I truly enter into another’s experience? At what point does the vicarious become a real experience? How much personal “dying” can I do without becoming impersonal? What is the delineation between sacrifice and suicide?
And that’s for starters. I don’t know the answers, I’m not a philosopher, just a pickle. But I do know that some of the answers the characters came up with were the wrong ones, and very disturbing. To me, part of being a Christian is knowing that, having surrendered my identity to Jesus, it is safe in His hands. Even though I keep trying to take parts of it back, He will be true to the fundamental transaction and hold my “soul” (whatever exactly that is) in His eternal keeping. I once, long ago read a line of a poem,(I have no idea by whom) that said:
“As long as the self can say ‘I’, it is impossible not to rebel”
And that is part of our human dilemma. But there is a deeper and greater truth:
“It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me”
I suspect it takes a lifetime to understand that experientially. Meanwhile there is another truth we can cling to, in the vicissitudes and confusions of daily living, a transcendent truth which protects us, even in our brokenness, from some of the follies of the characters in this movie:
“There is nothing in all creation that can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”