Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nim's Island

I had the opportunity to watch a very sweet movie yesterday called, “Nim’s Island.” I have to tell you that when I saw the previews for this movie, I thought it might be amusing, but I wasn’t completely excited about it. I adore Jody Foster, however, so when given the opportunity to watch it on a flight, I was eager to see what the story was about.

It was an enchanting story from the start. Sweet and heart string tugging. Definitely a “Nola movie” as my friends would say.

What was most appealing to me, however, was the message (surprise surprise) in the unfolding story. Jody foster stole the show with her performance as Alex Rover, an adventure novel writer who suffers from Agoraphobia (fear of being out in the world/marketplace) and a touch of OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder. She is terrified to leave her San Francisco apartment and she is even more afraid of germs!

Alex starts an email conversation with Nim, a little girl living on a remote island. When Nim’s father fails to return home from a two day trip, and Nim is injured in a journey to research the island’s volcano in response to one of Alex’s questions, their adventure together begins.

Nim must find the courage to deal with the challenges of her island life without her father. She’s has a cut on her leg and has the threat of invaders coming to take over her island to deal with. One of the funniest lines in the movie is when Nim writes in email to Alex that she has a cut on her leg that has started to swell and has pus coming out of it. She asks Alex, “How would you handle a 5 inch cut that is swelling and has pus coming out?” To which Alex, who is sitting in front of her computer screen, mutters aloud, “BADLY!” I almost died laughing.

Nim, thinking she is emailing with the adventurer himself, asks Alex to come to the island to help her. Alex in a phobia driven world is torn between the 11 year old girl’s request and the grip of her consuming fears. In the end, she decides she must make the journey to try and help this little girl in her isolated and frightening world.

Alex’s journey to Nim’s Island is fraught with challenges, germs and fear filled scenarios… but she faces each one down (not always gracefully) in order to help another human being in need. It is so often true that we can often do things for others that we would never do for ourselves. The goodness of our human hearts often comes rushing forward, conquering our fears, when another person needs our help.

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we see this theme again, when Indiana must
take action to save his dying father. He must take a ‘leap of faith’ out into a seemingly open chasm, and trust that the foretold footbridge will appear. Indiana would never have taken that step for the sake of adventure, or even for the sake of the treasure he was seeking at that moment. Only his love for his father and his desire to save his life gave him the courage and drive to take that step.

Alex, in this story, was only able to step outside her apartment to respond to the needs of the little 11 year old Nim. She wouldn’t have done it for herself.
Never underestimate the power of love and the desire to help another person. It can give us the courage and motivation to do what needs to be done!

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