Not Just Restless But Also Hopeless
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Starring: Henry Hopper, Mia Wasikowska,
Ryō Kase, Schuyler Fisk, Jane
Audience: Teenagers and young adults
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony
Director: Gus Van Sant
Executive Producer: David Allen Cress, Eric Black,
Michael Sugar, Sarah Bowen,
Producer: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard,
Bryce Dallas Howard, Gus Van
Writer: Jason Lew
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833
Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com
Enoch Brae (Henry Hopper) is a quiet funeral-crasher who has all but given up on life, choosing to keep the company of only one friend – Hiroshi, the imaginary ghost of a Kamikaze fighter pilot. However, when Enoch chances to meet the beautiful young Annabel Cotton (Mia Wasikowska), an unlikely friendship unfolds between the pair that teaches them the deeper meanings of life. The two enjoy life together. She shares with him her love of the natural world and admiration for Charles Darwin and his humanist work while he introduces her to his imaginary friend Hiroshi.
When Enoch learns of Annabel’s imminent mortality, he vows to help her face her last days. However, before he can help her, he realizes he has to come to terms with his own anger at the reality of death in his own life – primarily, the loss of his parents killed by a drunk driver.
After the accident that claimed his parents and sent him into a coma, Enoch has closed his heart to the possibility of ever again being so vulnerable – that is, until the day he meets Annabel. In the care of his aunt, Enoch secretly frequents funerals in part due to his fascination with the finality of death, but mainly because he was unable to attend his parents’ memorial service. Annabel’s irresistible joy and fascination with the circle of life re-opens Enoch to the possibility of purposeful life, yet his burgeoning love for her also re-opens old wounds.
As Annabel’s time nears, Enoch begins to regret his decision to help her and snaps, telling her, “I was dead for three minutes, and you know what was there? Nothing!” He then goes to the hospital and disrespects her doctor for not being capable of saving her. Ultimately, he finds himself at the foot of his parents’ grave with a sledgehammer, their gravestone smashed to bits. His anger eventually subsides, however. Amid the turmoil of life and death, he finds a stranger peace with a sigh and a smile.
Ultimately what comes through at the heart of RESTLESS is that life is a cycle of death and rebirth without there being the possibility of life after death. All that we have is the present with each other, and when our friends pass away, all that we’re left with are just the memories. Thus, there’s no hope beyond tragedy and death in RESTLESS. What a hopeless and abhorrent conclusion this is!
In contrast to this, the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ provides all those who believe with a guarantee to eternal life, liberty, true love, and real joy. Jesus doesn’t just promise all this after we die. He also promises us a taste of these things in this life, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
- Galatians 5:22,23
RESTLESS is an enjoyable tale exposing the broad palette of life, but the story’s resolution and worldview promotes a Romantic, evolutionist, atheist, hopeless worldview bordering on nihilism. In the end, although Enoch finds a kind of peace, there’s no hope beyond tragedy and death for anyone. The hopeless humanism and Darwinism of RESTLESS is absolutely abhorrent, especially when compared to the life, liberty, joy, peace, and goodness we find in Jesus Christ.