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In the beginning of the movie I very much wanted to write Chris off as a pompous young thing, not unlike so many prep school boyfriends I had dated, thinking, if only this pampered, yet punished young thing had been given a guitar, he’d have gone on to his master’s degree.
As the film went on, and I started to get a feel for Chris, I started to see within myself the young animal that longed for such an adventure, yet never went beyond the standard road trip for fear of losing my parent’s approval.
I have lived in the worst ghettos of Los Angeles, and conversely, the finest quarter of Antwerp, Belgium. I have seen similar things in the wilderness that Chris witnessed, I have also watched an infant die at my feet, longed though I did for him to survive.
These pleasures and these pains are the woes and the triumphs that Chris embodies in himself — just by being who he was and going where he went — where his soul told him he should be.
Yes, I narrowly confined him to the role as a boy at the top of the caste, who thought himself stiffled by the situation he was born into. I later came to realize, in synch with each of Chris’s epiphanies, that this was no mere boy or man embarked upon a rite of passage — this was a soul hindered by what exists today who endeavored to make it right in his own way. So the question really is, did it cost him his life, or would his supposed life have cost him the chance to discover who he really is, and in so doing, what “all of this” is really about.
I think it’s beautiful and shameful simultaneously that more of us don’t seek within ourselves, nevermind the wilderness, what Chris sought out in the universe. I hope that this story becomes a catalyst that engenders a whole new generation to question who they are, why they are who they are, what it means to have ended up in their “station” and what it means to be loved, to enjoy what is before us, to simply be simple, holding hands or going it alone into the wilderness or into basic day-to-day life.
To the last comment:
Chris’s mission wasn’t to turn his back on his “spoiled” lifestyle. He attempted to challenge himself; reduce his needs to bare humanistic necessity. He felt he had lived a lie his entire life due to being a “bastard child”, as Carine explained. Living in the wilderness was just an extension of this. Is it wrong to challenge ourselves and embark on a journey to find life’s meaning and self-identity?? It’s not “crazy” as you say. If the book had been written even if he had lived, you might say that’s “amazing”. Everyone has their own way of testing themselves, this was his. To acquiesce in appreciation of what we already have reduces oneself to not strive for something more. You’re reducing him to some spoiled westerner…
I think that this story is a sad reflection on how spoiled we are in western ‘civilised’ countries. Most inhabitants of developing countries, people who have no choice but to deal with these types of life threatening hardships on a daily basis and who understand the reality of them would swap places places with our cushy pampered western lives in a heart beat.
I feel sorry for the main character in that his parents arguing a bit was considered a ‘hard life’ for him and in every other respect he was loved, housed, clothed, well fed and generally very lucky to live where he did but we see his turning his back on all that and putting his life at risk and abandoning the progress made by developed countries (which is what allowed him his pampered lifestyle in the first place) as something worthy, something to aspire to… it’s crazy. Do we need to go and live in the wilderness and put our lives at risk to appreciate what we have? I know I don’t.
It’s exactly the same kind of spoiled, self-indulgent and naive attitude that makes westerners turn to traditional ‘ethnic’ medicines when the people dying in those countries would gladly take western mdeicines if they had access to them.