I rewatched Family Man the other night with some dear friends, a movie which I often recommend for family video nights. In it, Jack (played by Nicolas Cage) thinks of himself as a great success, a Wall-Street merger guy. Through a bit of hijinx magic, he’s given a chance to see an alternate reality in which he could have enjoyed raising a loving family with his old college sweetheart instead. He slowly realizes that in his “real life,” he didn’t have everything he was looking for.
My friend Kirtani turned to me and said, “It’s one of those nice movies of self-discovery.”
In so many of those movies we enjoy, like Aladdin, or the Bourne movies, it’s really obvious that the purpose of the movie – and what animates the plot – is the protagonist’s search for Who He Really Is. Over and over we’re given the same message, in Tangled, Bolt, Cinderella, and a million other movies: the protagonist forgets who they are, or is never told, or is misled… and then the adventure begins.
And what makes these movies so enjoyable – and memorable – is how well they reflect our own remembering… our own slow expansion from a limited view of ourselves into a more expanded one.
It occurs to me that this is one of God’s favorite things to do: limit Himself, and then – like in the story of the prodigal son – slowly slowly slowly come back towards… Himself. Back to His (Your!) True Glory.
Could there be a better story?