After watching Life as a House I noticed that it was released in November of '01. Since it was obviously filmed and edited before the attacks, it has to be one of the last family dramas of the pre-"post-9/11" time period.
I hear that a lot, this phrase, post-9/11. What does that really mean?
Plopping those words together predicates that a change has occurred. According to that logic, the events of September 11th, 2001 didn't just happened, they are happening. Tremors of the day are still reverberating.
When looking at the American family, at least on the big screen, I think we can find evidences that this notion of a post-9/11 world is indeed a reality.
American Beauty won a buttload of awards for its 1999 movie season, and assuredly rightfully so. But when I watch it now, I can't ever quite shake that the world its characters inhabit is not my own. Not anymore. I think the film is a brilliant response of its boomboom 90s time period.
Enter American Beauty (or, if you prefer, substitute The Ice Storm). The films characters believe that they should be living in the renaissance of the American Leave It to Beaver era. They believe perfection not only can be obtained, but that it is always just a Hallmark moment away from realization. From this then, we are brought to inciting incident; a turn of events that causes our protagonist to realize how deep in the quicksand not only he and his family are in, but ultimately, the whole world.
The formula is as such:1) The veneer of the perfect household is torn asunder,
2) our characters wallow in the filth, seeking unscrupulous means of finding a way out, and ultimately,
3) the family finds some form of redemption.
Rinse and repeat.
I do believe that such a thing as a cultural consciousness exists. And I think that watching the two largest skyscrapers of our largest American city be annihilated crushed our perceived innocence. It tore us down to the bone. It left us dry.
But it is better to start with nothing then to build on a false foundation. May God protect and redeem the United States of America. Amen.