I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. It is partially because of the nature of my new job, but mostly because it’s my favorite date activity with Eric. Each movie tells a story that touches me a different way and changes my life just a tiny bit. These aren’t the big blockbuster movies (though, those a fun too) – most of these movies are the less well-known but more well-told stories of the human spirit, which leave me wanting to be a better person as I exit the theater.
Unless I write something down, I tend to forget that it ever happened. And these movies move me so much that I feel compelled to write about them and reflect on how they’ve impacted my life. Only positive reviews (aka “life-impacting” movies) will be written about here. And I encourage you to go see each and every one of these…in theaters, if you can, to support these films.
An old Irish woman, Philomena Lee, searches for her son who was taken away from her against her will after she became pregnant and gave birth to him in the convent. Together with a former BBC journalist, she finds out the truth about her son.
Based on a true story.
There were lots of amazing moments in this film (let’s take a moment to thank the indelible Judi Dench for making that happen). Moments that made me cry, moments that made me laugh, and that one moment of pure joy when all is good in the world.
But the moment that I remember the most was none of those things. It was the moment at the end, after a terrible injustice committed against one person has been revealed, when the viewer has one of two choices. To be angry or to forgive.
So, what do you do?
On one hand, our former BBC journalist (smart, successful, somewhat jaded, and highly critical) friend who takes us through this journey with Philomena reacts with anger. An anger, that with all things considered, feels completely justified. An anger that matches the level of the injustice that has happened. An anger that stands up for what is right and refuses to stop until all things are right with the world again. For me, this is the type of anger that can boil up when something fundamentally wrong happens.
But on the other hand, Philomena (our Irish, humble, unassuming, romance novel reading, and optimistic old lady) reacts a different way. [And let’s not forget that she was the victim of this injustice.] She forgives. And in that singular act she transforms from the victim to the victor, triumphing over years of judgment, bitterness, anger, and revenge.
Compared to this true story of Philomena Lee, I have experienced very little injustice against me. But I couldn’t help but wonder, would I have the same amount of courage to walk through the door of forgiveness instead of anger? Could I take action without judgment? Could I fight for what is right without falling into the trap of bitterness?
The power in one act of forgiveness can triumph over the worst injustice. And it takes the true story of an old Irish woman to remind us that, once again.