The movie is surreal, yet grounded in the exquisiteness of everyday moments - inspires awe of the sublime power that moves the cosmos, as also awe of the ordinary miracles of daily living that we take for granted - viscerally showing the freedom and wonder of childhood, yet also the helplessness of a child having his world shaped by powers beyond his control - impressionistic scenes portraying the rebellion and blind search for meaning of adolescence - the joy of life's blessings, as well as the sorrow of life's losses - the agony of grief, and the redemption of grace.
One review made this spot-on observation:
"Many films diminish us. They cheapen us, masturbate our senses, hammer us with shabby thrills, diminish the value of life. Some few films evoke the wonderment of life's experience, and those I consider a form of prayer. Not prayer "to" anyone or anything, but prayer "about" everyone and everything. I believe prayer that makes requests is pointless. What will be, will be. But I value the kind of prayer when you stand at the edge of the sea, or beneath a tree, or smell a flower, or love someone, or do a good thing. Those prayers validate existence and snatch it away from meaningless routine. It functions to pull us back from the distractions of the moment, and focus us on mystery and gratitude."
It is not an entertainer. It is a deep profound courageous look at our existence and the age old questions arising from the depths of suffering - "Lord, why? Where were you? Did you know what happened? Do you care?"
When you walk out of a movie hall, you retain a flavour of the world projected by the screen for a few minutes. But this movie does not draw you into its story world, it draws you deep into yourself, and you walk out of the movie hall wrapped in a strange solitude of being, not wanting to say anything for a long time afterwards.
Some defining lines from the movie (spoiler warning!) -
"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow.
Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.
Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.
The nuns taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end."
For those in Bangalore, the movie is currently running at PVR Koramangala (in Forum Mall).