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13 Conversations About One Thing

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My mom recorded this on Tivo, and we watched it.  I'd never heard about it.   I guess it's an independent film.  Lotsa good people in it.

It's told very much out of order.  I guess it's sort of like a Tarantino film in that way.  (Totally different tone, though.)  You start with John Turturro and a woman, and you learn almost immediately that she's married.  But it's unclear if he is.  Then it switches to Matthew McConaughey and Alan Arkin who have a conversation in a bar.  The conversation in the bar turns out to be the beginning of McConaughey's story and the end of Alan Arkin's story.  They intersperse all these stories, plus one of a young maid.  The characters are all as loosely connected as McConaughey and Arkin are in their brief bar conversation.

The One Thing is happiness, I think.  And/or contentment.  The movie doesn't come across as just thirteen conversations.  There are a few spots, like the bar scene, where it's pretty clear that, "this is one of the conversations."   But the sub-plots are stories in their own right.  So I didn't have the urge to try to keep count of the conversations.

The movie had a lot of pithy lines.  Like, "Ask yourself if you're happy and you cease to be."  And, "Wisdom comes suddenly."  And, "Show me a happy man and I'll show you a disaster waiting to happen."

It's a very slow-paced movie.  My mom said she started to watch it once, but got a little distracted, and just wasn't in the mood to settle down and watch it.  This one really does require you to be in a contemplative mood.  If you're pumped up then you'll be bored.  If you're tired then you'll fall asleep.  It's not a bad movie, but it is soft and quiet.

Maybe the conversations aren't precisely about happiness.  They're about the search for happiness.  Or the uncertainty of happiness in daily life.  How ethereal contentment can be.  Sort of like the dialogue at the end of Being Human, where Robin Williams says, "Everything's going to be okay."  And the daughter replies, "It's already okay.  This is as good as it gets."

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Independent film about people wondering if they have happiness in their lives.  Rental.

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