Loss is a part of life. We have to deal with it in some form day after day. Sure, sometimes it's just a simple case of running out of chocolate milk, but the empty hole it leaves is nevertheless devastating. Other times, though, it's no laughing matter. Other times, that inevitableness that we as human beings are programmed to fear from the moment we enter this world crashes down upon us. Other times, we lose a life.
The death of someone close is never easy. Of the many ways a life can be snatched away, all are a shock to the system, all seem like the worst way possible, and all are truly terrible in the moment. In the documentary film You See Me, Linda Brown, who also wrote, directed and produced the feature, deals with this loss in the form of watching her father succumb to a stroke.
A still from You See Me from the documentary's official Facebook page.
The movie is long; at times it can seem repetitive, even redundant. And most of the time, this would be a severe criticism of a film, at least if you're trying to get me to watch it. Not the magic words to send me scurrying to the multiplexes. But here, it can't be a shot at the movie. If anything, it should be a shot at life itself. For, as anyone who has ever had to watch a loved one go through that long march to the end from a debilitating illness can attest, these words perfectly sum up the experience. It's long, repetitive, and redundant. It's hard to watch. It's not a good time. But you do watch, because you love this person, and you know that you will never forget these moments with them. You know it will effect you the rest of your life.
On the surface, the movie is a gut wrenching look into a family's lives as they try to keep up a mostly delusional hope that this extremely ill part of their lives is going to survive, heal and flourish. And, indeed many of the more effective moments of the film do revolve around this. But, as the story looks deeper into the life of Miss Brown, and the lives of her family, the narrative also becomes one of discourse, mistrust, and violence in a household. It shows the double-edged sword that is unconditional love, and how that love can make a bad situation all the more difficult by leaving you so torn as to how to feel, and how to let go of the past.
You See Me is a story about loss, yes. But it is also a story of forgiveness and how, no matter the warts that may cover a person, sometimes if you stand by their side long enough, they'll show you the cleanliness underneath. They'll show you that love, that for so long seemed to shackle you to a wall you wanted nothing more than to be rid of, that love found its mark and returned back to you, clean and true. And in those moments, you realize that death, no matter how exhaustive and final it may seem, is not the end. In those moments you realize that that love, that shackle, will live on, and that it was all that mattered anyways.