Hollywood Helps Explain Heroism – Part Two

On the weekend I saw two movies: “Up” and “Australia”.  I thought “Up” was brilliant and was pleasantly surprised by “Australia”.  It got some horrible reviews, but I’m not sure the critics understood the point.  Regardless, each movie had a lot to say on the hero’s journey – our hero’s journeys.  There are some spoilers for both movies here, so consider yourself warned.

The message in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia was that your story is the only thing you truly own.  The meeting of the three main characters changes each of their lives.  Nicole Kidman’s Lady Sarah Ashley moves from a life of privilege to one of hard work.  Hugh Jackman’s Drover leaves his nomadic life to begin one of commitment and responsibility.  Brandon Walters’ Nullah begins as a conflicted mixed race child (a Milky) and ends with a balance achieved through love from both races.  Note that each leaves their quite different Mundane Worlds to go on a new journey.

Each character goes on a hero’s journey, and each acts as the call to adventure to another.  It’s a very interesting method to create a story.  With my home country as a backdrop and Baz Lurhmann’s eye for design, it’s a beautiful film.  So you can enjoy the hero’s journeys involved, but there’s also that idea that your story is your own.  And it’s all you can own in the end.  The connection to “Up” is very clear here.

Carl Fredericksen spends most of “Up” on a journey based on memory.  He embarks on the floating house story to honour his dead wife – to end their story.  He never counted on starting a new one.  However, when Russell turns up on his porch at 10,000 feet, he does indeed begin a new journey.  The problem comes when Carl doesn’t realise it.  The characters in Australia recognize immediately that their worlds are changing and they react.  It takes Carl much longer.

With lives on the line, Carl realizes that his journey is ahead of him, not behind him.  In fact, it’s happening RIGHT NOW.  He throws out the furniture that is weighing down the house, but more importantly he’s throwing away the baggage that’s keeping him from embracing his new story.  He doesn’t have to forget about his wife, but he doesn’t need to keep everything the same to honour her.

Don’t let yourself be weighed down by the past.  Leave your Mundane World behind and embrace your journey.  Your new journey needs a new you.

Australia Movie

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