​© Alison Chang

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Swiss Army Man

July 3, 2016

Wow. What a film!

 

If it hadn't been for Cotton Eye Joe,

I'd be married a long time ago,

Where did you come from, where did you go,

Cotton Eye Joe?

 

Swiss Army man is a triumph.

 

It's a feel-good movie with a gorgeous soundtrack made for the film by Andy Hull and Robert McDowell that gets stuck in your head the way every 4 chord pop-song does, except instead of killing brain cells, it makes them sing. Out loud.

 

Swiss Army man follows the story of Hank (Paul Dano), a young 20-something who feels unloved and useless. Stranded on a desert island, it isn't until Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up onshore that Hank finds hope of escape. It sounds like a typical stranded-desert story, but that's just the surface. The directors, the Daniels have created a film that asks the difficult questions: Why are we here? What is love? What's the point? What do you do when you're so sad that you can't go on? They use the impossible to show what it means to be human through Hank's eyes, and though he presents himself as an empty, lonely, miserable man, he turns out to be one of the film's most resilient and hopeful characters. 

 

What I loved most about the film was the way it presented its big messages. We're all human. We're all flawed and beautiful. And you're not alone. We all think that if we do something odd or out-of-norm that it's weird. We're afraid to wear that awesome bright blue lipstick out in the middle of the city, or wear heelys past the age of 10, or god forbid, fart in public. It's weird. If everyone wore blue lipstick and heely-ed everywhere whilst farting, it'd be the norm. What's so terrible about doing these things? Everyone has to fart. And it's sad that sometimes you have to hold it in-- everyone's been there. Everyone, at some point, has had to hold in a fart and couldn't and it resulted in a weird, ostracizing moment. But then you realize this has happened to probably everyone, and suddenly, you don't feel so alone, or so weird. Because we're all oddballs until we realize that everyone else is probably thinking about the same things and wondering if they're weird. We've all been there. And you are not alone.

 

So thank you, Swiss Army Man, for showing us that being weird is actually pretty awesome. 

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