It’s been awhile since I watched a film that made me a bit uncomfortable. But Eagle vs. Shark is one that is endearing and honest and depressingly funny. It strikes a nerve with anyone who has felt they never quite fit in, anyone who has been in love or thinks they have.
Yesterday our Sunday Night movie group featured the film written by Taika Waitit and starring Loren Horsley (Lily) and Jemaine Clement (Jarrod). From the beginning scene where Horsley conducts an imaginary conversation with her love interest in the mirror while brushing her teeth, you know things are about to get awkward. You know, because all girls have done this at one point in time. And the conversation never goes quite as you hoped; the words never sound quite right leaving your mouth. (That is, if you actually have the nerve to say what you rehearsed.)
The film chronicles the rather odd relationship that develops between Jarrod, a computer gamer, and Lily, a fast food cashier. I won’t get too deep into the plot, I’ll only say that throughout the film Jarrod lies to Lily, ignores her affections, cuts down her accomplishments, and embellishes her past because somehow the truth is never good enough. While supporting him on a rather ridiculous mission to right the wrongs of his past., Jarrod breaks up with Lily saying I need to be alone right now, “I’m so complicated.” Sound at all familiar?
Now I will say that at this point in the film, all of the girls in the room are cringing and crying foul to Jarrod’s frequent douchebag moves. The boys? Well, it’s always hard to read what they are thinking. In the end, (spoiler alert), the two reconcile and all is right again in the world. When we flicked on the lights the reviews came spouting forth. The consensus from the girls? A great film. How wonderful for them! Then Sam, always the voice of reason, leveled the blow that still has me thinking.
“It’s a terrible ending! Why are you happy she got together with a guy that beat up a handicapped person? He’s an awful person!” he said.
Hmmm….good point. We tried explaining that Jarrod had grown from the experience. He was a changed man! Hey, he has daddy issues! But as Emily and I walked home through Union Square I was a little bothered by my initial reaction. I asked her why she thought it was so easy for us to accept the ending, why we were so eager to believe that it would all work out?
At one point we considered a line Lily delivers to Jarrod’s dad: “Life is full of hard bits. But in between the hard bits there are lots of lovely bits. Jarrod is one of those lovely bits.”
We bandied about some theories, but all I could come up with was maybe it’s because we’ve all been there before and that’s the ending we had always hoped for? Maybe females are more apt to recall the “lovely bits” of a rather hard relationship? Maybe we are just more likely to accept a reason explaining another’s failures in a way that doesn’t condemn their behavior, and one that certainly doesn’t highlight that perhaps, and just perhaps, the person just didn’t love you enough. Hmmm. I’m going to have to think more about this. In the meantime, go watch Eagle vs. Shark so you can contribute to the conversation.