A life might be romanticized into meaningful narrative, but this requires editing. It requires the pruning eye of an artist to find and express the story, and in the end, it may or may not resemble the truth. It’s naive to deny this fact, in the same way that it’s naive to claim that a film adaptation of a “true” story tells us the truth.
Truth, fully manifest, demands more than bare facts. It encompasses tone, emotion, dialogue, detail. It includes the way that a stranger’s smile didn’t truly reach his eyes, making it look hollow and insincere. The fact that a child on a train was not just fussy, but in fact screamed bloody murder for three hours. The way that a family home was not small and cozy but cramped, smelly, messy. The fact that it didn’t take ten minutes to decide what to do, but two months, and that he doubted that decision for years afterward. The moments of weakness and utter despair. Even the lighting is a lie. In everyday life, these little lies matter. Real life isn’t crisp and clean.
However, such movies occasionally still appeal to people for one particular reason. They provide a structure, a lens through which seemingly senseless events can be interpreted. The product is a lie, if not in bare facts than by omission of detail, but the structure itself, the lens, may or may not be a lie. And there, in this doubt, lives a small hope that this structure is true. This is what drives us to watch such movies in the first place. If it weren’t for this, we would be frustrated or even disgusted by them.
This same hope is an existential loophole which, generally speaking, I live my life inside. It whispers that, perhaps, just maybe, this lens exists for the crazy, awkward, indecipherable events of one’s own life. That while we will never be able to really understand what it all means while we live it, that at least it does mean something. That, externally, were a being with infinite understanding to look upon the course of history, he could read it like a marvelously complex and beautiful book. That the world would have a story, and that consequently, each individual piece its own story.
This seems like a little, insignificant thing, but it changes everything. It is a courageous act, clinging to the thread of hope for a narrative: a real narrative. It’s like a dare, a challenge against despair. Idealism may be the result of a delusional and desperate mind. And yet, also, it might be a delusion worth believing in.