127 Hours

127 Hours ★★★★

I still can’t figure out why I find this so compelling. Boyle certainly does pad it out with some unneeded flashiness, but something about the central conceit of being alone and the painstaking process of extricating oneself from a situation this dire just fascinates me and I think it’s a story that makes a strong case for a certain kind of freedom that I understand even if I’m not one to wander off into canyons. I’m a lot more cynical than this movie or its lead character though, as in my experience family really isn’t where I feel most known, and certainly some hypothetical future child wouldn’t be able to motivate me to suddenly become superhuman enough to mow a limb off. I suspect most of us watching would’ve given up really quickly; Aron talks himself out of masturbating at one point and I feel like it’s one of the few things I could have accomplished in this context. Still, there’s some hubris here of being completely together, confident and invincible that gets effectively deconstructed at the climax and I think dramatizing that humility, even when the masculinity being challenged isn’t remotely toxic, is useful.

Here’s my own 127 Hours situation, which is the most pathetically sheltered thing you will read in your life (I am a librarian; I wear a hat). I called 911 on my dying phone when my car got stuck in a swamp in the middle of nowhere and then after walking a few miles had to wave my Kindle Fire (“it’s even nerdier!” my friend exclaimed with delight, having assumed it was my phone) around so that randos in a passing pickup truck would see me. I’m a loser and I cannot believe I’m willingly sharing this with all of you.

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