October 24, 2014
Given all of its bodily details, there’s an incarnational aspect to Whiplash’s striving that recalls our striving for perfection in Christ.
Like the article, Josh. It sounds like the physicality and bloodiness of some of Chezelle's imagery tells us that striving for this perfection or excellence is a bruising and battering process. Chezelle said in an interview that he was conveying the value of hard work and how genius and excellence is not achieved by just rolling out of bed, but is the result of working hard.
Likewise, loving others, especially our enemies, and striving to be like Christ is a bloody and bruising process and is achieved through a lot of hard work and prayer. A lot of times we want to assume love should be easy, but when we actually get into those relationships we realize how difficult they truly are. Why do you think there is so much family strife, divorce and harsh judgment of those not like us? Because we arenâ€™t willing to endure the hardship of perfect love by getting our hands bloodied and our egos bruised. The great caveat to that process is that I am thankful that our obtainment of perfection isnâ€™t on us but was obtained for us, and weâ€™re free to love perfectly because we are already loved perfectly. Sadly, that cannot be said of my drumming skillsâ€¦
It bums me out that this movie is not in wider release. I might actually be able to contribute to a dialogue on the actual movie and not just your article, but, regardless, this is really good stuff. Iâ€™ll probably use this tomorrow for my mid-week article link at RWT, if you donâ€™t mind.
Wouldn't mind at all, Josh. Thanks for reading and commenting. I was just talking to a few folks last night about Whiplash's limited release and disappointing box office. Perhaps one reason audiences aren't connecting with it is because it refuses to offer a pat answer to the questions it raises about perfection. There is a small moment of triumph in that finale, but I don't think it can be read as a vindication for either character. At best, it's a glimpse of a better way forward.
"At best, it's a glimpse of a better way forward." Which is more than satisfying for me. Of course, in a city like mine, where perfection and achievement is an idol to the extreme, it wouldn't play that well. I think that is interesting since most of us don't end up achieving some sort of perfection or pinnacle when it comes to art, sports, music, etc. We want so badly to be the very best, but hardly any of us get there. You figure the more realistic, non-pat answer approach would resonate more with people, but I guess not. Maybe we're so programmed to think we can achieve anything we put our mind to (thanks Sesame Street!) that we refuse to accept anything to the contrary, even if it is more real. Or, I could be totally over-thinking a movie I haven't seen...
Oh well, thankfully movies like this don't fade into obscurity anymore with VOD, Netflix, iTunes, and the like. Then I can pick up this conversation in six months to a year. Thanks internet!
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