Film | Jellyfish: A Brief Review

29 Jun

After a fabulous dinner with Bing and Kennendale Clarke on Friday evening, I felt it too early to call it a night and bought a ticket to the film Jellyfish at the Angelika.

My only knowledge of the film was from the summary offered by the theater,and the brief New York Times review, both of which were a correct assessment; basically, Jellyfish relates the story of three women—a waitress, an immigrant, and a newlywed—searching for meaning within their jobs, within their relationships, and within themselves.

Yet, art is interpreted by the individual, and being so, each person’s experience is his or her own, and thus unique. The woman in a boa sitting behind me, for example, felt the film was depressing.

“Why did they all have to drown?” she angrily asked. [Note: No one drowns.]

The couple with whom I rode on the elevator felt the film refreshing after having watched Savage Grace, a film that had “too much incest.” (I didn’t ask exactly how much incest was too much; it seems a mute point to me.)

To each viewer I leave her own interpretation. As for me, the theme and beauty of Jellyfish can be found through the invertebrate from which it takes its title. The jellyfish floats upon the ocean, with little control over where it is moved, passively drifting with the current, its internal structure exposed.

Similarly, each woman in the film drifts through her own existence, looking for the meaning that supposedly complements life, her internal self exposed, and having little control over where her own life will take her or the relationships she has with others. The film seems to suggest that we all are jellyfish, drifting from one moment to the next, waiting for an explanation as to why we drift or a beach onto which we can safely land. Are we all waiting for Godot? Our American ideology has us to believe we are captains of our own yachts with a compass we can easily manipulate at sea. “I sing myself,” Whitman proclaims in Leaves of Grass.

The Israeli film challenges this notion and prompts the question as to whether we create meaning in our lives or whether we must seek the meaning of a life over which we have little control.

Overall, Jellyfish is a film worth seeing. Cinematically, the film is aesthetically beautiful and the actors give a lasting performance. The existential questions evoked, however, are reason enough to stand in line and buy tickets, and just think – you’ll have another excuse to leave Sartre and Beckett upon your bookcase at home. . .

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One Response to “Film | Jellyfish: A Brief Review”

  1. Kelli T. July 1, 2008 at 1:05 PM #

    Hmmm, sounds like something I’d enjoy. Thanks for sharing your experience (strange moviegoers and all)!

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