Can you Relate to Into The Wild too?

Spoiler Warning: This review gives away the ending. If you don't want to know what happens, stop reading now!

I was profoundly moved by this film directed by Sean Penn. Starring Emile Hirsch as Christopher McCandless, it tells the true story Christopher's journey of self-discovery leading into the Alaskan wilderness. This film hit me hard, and I found it hugely cathartic. Despite a packed cinema, it was as though there was just me and this film connected to each other. I cried almost the whole way through.

Part of the reason I connected with it so strongly was that I first saw it while on a journey into the wild of my own; in my case a solo motorcycle road-trip of self-discovery from my home town of Sydney to Byron Bay where I saw the film, and beyond. There are also many parallels between Christopher's emotionally disconnected family, and my own. The scenes depicting the ongoing conflict between his parents transported me straight back to my own childhood and the sense of emotional disconnection between Christopher and his father mirrored that between me and mine.

Every character in the film is flawed in some way, and I found myself relating deeply to the pain in each and every one.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Men's Group

Group of Men talking about stuffThe discomfort and apprehension is so palpable you can feel it just watching Men's Group, as six men meet for the first time in the leader's home to begin the painful cathartic process of talking about their lives. Half of them are ambivalent about even being there; some are there under duress, and all are struggling in some key area of their life. They're in pain, and their learning how to heal and sort things out by sharing it with other men. It's a practical lesson in learning to trust and how to do intimacy with other human beings, with no printed agenda or how-to-style self-help book to guide them. It's as simple and as difficult as talking about what's going on, and listening to each other... really listening.

I could relate immediately to this movie. I'd even visited the particular men's group in Sydney that it's modeled on a couple of times before recently finding a group more to my liking. The guys in this movie aren't just acting; they're being very real. At times the comments seem inappropriate but they're learning to stop self-censoring and talk about what's real. It's not always what they want to hear, but it does always end up bringing them closer together.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Mature Masculine Power and The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo Movie Cover Dr Paul pointed out on David DeAngelo's Deep Inner Game program that the story of The Count of Monte Cristo is a metaphor for the journey that men take in growing from a boy into a mature man. So I recently watched the 2002 movie version starring Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce, to see what nuggets of masculine wisdom I could extract from it.

At the beginning of the story, Edmond Dantes is a boy living in a man's body. He lacks intuition and street-smarts, and has a naïve overly-trusting view of other people. He has never questioned his belief in God, has weak personal boundaries, and allows other people to manipulate him and take advantage of his naïvety. He has an excess of conscience and looks at the world the way a young boy does. In short, he's guileless and clueless. While he is deeply in love with his fiancé Mercedes, the relationship has never really been tested by any kind of hardship.

When Dantes is prematurely made Captian of his ship by his employer, his childhood friend Fernando Mondego becomes extremely jealous. He is also jealous of Dante's relatioship with Mercedes, who repeatedly knocks back his routine attempts to seduce her.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago