From Bad to Worse
Depressive tragedy plays out to its conclusion, and finds an entire community in a quandary of rotten choices. This is what I like to call a disturbing reality, and while it is painful to watch, it is none the less an actuality for every community at some point in time. How it is dealt with is the difference.
The community of this film is somewhere in the high Rocky Mountains, where one of the few sanctuaries from the oppressive cold is Angie's Diner. Here, Angie, played by Mira Sorvino, provides sustenance in the form of "blue plate specials," while playing host to the talk and the sorrow of local tragedy - the wrongful death by neglect of a 3 year old little boy.
The little boy in question, Nate, was not necessarily unloved, he was just loved by the wrong people. As ironic as this may seem, this depressing tragedy stresses the sad truth that not everyone is prepared for parenthood, and in that reality of misplaced responsibility: How does an individual and the community, at large, find redemption? It is an awful truth. There are few good, enduring remedies.
Such is the reality for Nate's father, Ethan, played by Thomas Dekker. He was directly responsible for his son freezing to death in a very cold place at the absolute wrong time: The sleeping boy in a child protective seat, precociously unlocks his seat's latching mechanism, unlocks the truck door, and wanders out into the cold on a lonely mountain road, just as a snow storm ensues. The father had left the child for maybe 10 minutes to track a large buck deer for a short distance - just to look at it.
It could have happened to anyone, right?
Sure it could, but social consciousness trains the balance of society to be more careful, thoughtful, responsive to the needs of one that has lived so little, and, therefore, knows so little. Society demands that we know better, and are far more responsible as parents. Counter that with the relative truth that Americans have a great capacity to forgive, and you have the theme of a story that was tough to watch and was much to digest.
The larger question could remain: Do we have the capacity to forgive ourselves?
Released in theaters December 30, 2011. Rated R. 92 minutes of run time.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.