Andrew and I just watched Cast Away on TV after seeing it last when it came out in 2000. I could almost write a paper on that movie. There's so many discussion points just below the surface. For instance, Chuck (Tom Hanks' character) was obsessed with keeping time: "We live and we die by time. And we must not commit the sin of losing our track on time." Then he was forced to spend four years on an island, with nothing he could control but his form of death. And even that didn't work out. When he returned to America, I bet he had a different idea of the word "hurry."
Then there's the psychology of human survival. No matter what the adversity, those who survive keep an almost iconic focus on something or someone that creates consistency and purpose. Chuck's icons-- his pocket watch with his girlfriend Kelly's picture, his island friend "Wilson", and the angel wings on a Fed-Ex package that washes up on shore-- create a continuum of comfort that occupies Chuck's energy and gives him an outlet for despair, hope, loneliness, and fear. They give him a project to do, to keep him going.
If I did write a paper on this movie, I would love to study the connections between what was going on at the turn of the millennium and how that might have colored the meanings of the movie, too. I would also love to study loss and survival.
I want to watch it again now. I love movies! Andrew asked me why I liked to watch movies so much, and I said, "I think it's because I can enter someone else's world and experiences and see what it might be like and apply that to my own life. And I like to see how other storytellers do their thing." With movies, you've got the writers telling a story, the directors telling a story, the actors telling a story, and the editors telling a story. When it comes together well, it's like a symphony, and I think it's fantastic!