The power of A Hidden Life

I sat in the theater dead silent for most of the credits, pondering what I had just experienced. 

Walking out of the theater, I then sat on the bench and stared into space, drowning in the vastness of the feelings I was trying to comprehend. 

Music was absent in my car as I drove home, barely knowing what was happening around me. 

As I came home, I continued with my drawn-out reflection and was unable to concentrate on my homework or tasks. This movie awakened in me a wonder for something I had never seen before. Something that looked weak as I continued to watch it and did not impress me until after I finished and the weight of the experience came crashing down, leaving me feeling hollow, yet filled with purpose. 

I have never thought about a movie like this, and a movie has never impacted me like this. Objectively, it is a flurry of images and scraps of conversations that barely hold together but personally, it is living the life of someone you have never met and seeing all of humanity in the actions of a few people. 

This is not a movie, but a memory of people that lived and loved and defined what a person is capable of while also illustrating the humanity of even the most heartless. Most people live to do what is right, but what right means and how far one is willing to go for what is right is a much more complicated concept to explore — this movie explores it completely. 

Pieced together with beautiful imagery, more beautiful than I have ever seen in a film, conversations flow together until they all the sudden stop and the movement of the scenes are shown through raw emotion and what feels like the snippets of memory held by these characters. 

The actors felt like people, not characters. They live their lives and we see the real interactions between people that we learn to understand not through exposition, as the lack of conversation would not allow exposition, but through the little idiosyncrasies of their movements, the way they look at each other, the small smiles they share, and the tear-filled moments of sorrow. 

Not everyone will like this movie; even I don’t know if I like it. No movie has done this compilation of seemingly insignificant or slow moments, which is a unique approach to storytelling. While watching it, I felt like it was always dragging and yet I couldn’t look away. 

The three hour run time felt almost longer, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. With the movie concluded, I felt as if I had lived years with these people in those three hours. The power contained in this movie is beyond anything I have seen in recent memory and for that, I feel this movie is something that should be watched, even with the heavy emotional and timely toll. 

This movie demonstrated to me the power of cinema to express the most human stories on an almost subconscious level, bypassing the defenses of the viewer to cut to the root of their being and expose what makes us human. Many will get lost in translation, but for the few who get engrossed as I did, this will be a transcendent experience like no other.