The Matrix

The Matrix ★★★★★

The only element of this that consistently hadn't worked for me in the past—across both my too-cool-for-it college viewing and my revelatory revisit in theaters—was Trinity's confession of love for Neo. It was a contrivance, a screenwriting trick too clever by half, something the characters hadn't made me believe.

This viewing, that "I love you" crashed into me. Because of course it's a contrivance, just as every bit of messianic destiny and prophecy in the film is. All of it portentous nonsense, the mysticism of desperate souls who have nothing else to cling to, given to them—as the wrongfully maligned sequels reveal—by the very construct that holds them prisoner. And yet there is meaning, because they make meaning by the very act of insisting it exists.

And so Neo takes ten bullets from an Agent and stands back up. So Trinity falls in love with a man she's barely known. So Morpheus by sheer force of will resists the tortures of programs that have never failed to break the human spirit. So Neo, two movies later, is able to keep fighting when everything has been taken from him, the woman who saved him with her kiss gone forever, his comparatively simple path as the freeing messiah exposed for a sham.

"Because I choose to."

We choose love. And that's what makes it real.

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