Thursday, August 11, 2011


Unable to afford therapy, Mark creates his own by building a 1/6-scale World War II-era town in his yard and populating it with dolls representing himself, his friends, and even his attackers. He rehabilitates his physical wounds by manipulating the small dolls and props — and his mental ones by having the figures act out various battles and stories.
---from the Wikipedia article

This is not an easy film to watch because it's a story about a man bringing himself back to life. I would suggest watching by yourself. It's a private story and your reactions should be kept private.

And you will react. It seems silly to watch a grown man play with dolls, but it's what he does with them, how he treats them, that makes the story. Those aren't dolls. That's him, his wife, and the things that gave him comfort.

I admit, I felt kinda gross about halfway through. There was someone's life laid bare and I was looking at it.

But here I am, recommending it.

I do so because it is an important film. People can change. Mark used to be an alcoholic and now, he won't even give the stuff a second look.

He also used to be a very talented artist, and you see that in his old diaries. You also see he was very troubled and upset. His diaries and drawings were used in evidence against the men who beat him, to show what they had taken from him.

But watching it, and this is the part that disgusts me, it seems they took a lot of pain from him. They took away questions and confusion. I'm not going to say that Mark is not in any pain, or that he isn't confused, but it seems less pervasive in his town than it was in his diaries. Mark wonders what kind of person he was. We wonder what kind of person he was. You get the feeling he wasn't someone you'd want to meet.

This was very difficult for me to watch because I'm terrified of brain injuries. Nothing scares me more than the knowledge that a baseball bat or a knitting needle can change who you are. It reminds me how delicate we are.

But, Mark's story is also about how resilient we are. He's not just some guy in a corner drooling on himself; he decided to be a human being again and took a--admittingly strange--way to get that back. Even if "Mark" wasn't going to make it back, Mark was.

So, in the end, it's hopeful and inspiring. He rebuilt himself, maybe a little better than before, and showed us all that it could be done. He's charming and insightful and cares about the people around him.

And I would not half-mind meeting him, this self-made man.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

He would make a doll of you...