Gentlemen, what you have created here, is nothing short of a masterpiece. You have an inimitable way with words and ideas that when strung together in the manner you have, create an astounding and inspiring work of art. From your take on religion for the non-religious, to your ability to convey meaning and gratitude in the smallest of things; the wealth in ‘family’; the honesty in parenting and the beauty in sincerity and simplicity; you have succeeded in inciting emotion in even the most unemotional person.
In this film, it isn’t just your main protagonist who is looking for answers, it shows that everyone, everywhere and in every walk of life is searching for more, everyone is afraid of never being enough, never living up to expectations, being confined to the monotony of working to survive rather than following their passion or moreover, never finding it.
While the focus may be on Aidan, chased by death and expectation throughout the journey, fearful of what lies ahead, every character is battling the same war. Grace (Joey King) is seemingly searching for herself in religion yet it’s clear throughout that she is the strongest of them all – her fervour for education and knowledge, her envelopment in Judaism and her sense of conviction about what is right and moral and what is kind and just, cements her as the strongest, most confident of all the characters, whether the rest of them choose to realise it or not. It is Grace that is able to get through to even the most closed-off characters in a manner that astounds even them.
Sarah (Kate Hudson) is trying to be an attentive mother, a supportive partner, a hard working employee and struggling to find where she fits in to it all, other than being the one solid thread tying everything together and becoming increasingly frightened as she feels herself starting to fray .
Noah (Josh Gad) is trying to escape responsibility, escape emotion and connection and yet he craves it, needs it and in that, he is fearful. Even Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) is trying to work out what is right among the stories he’s told in school and the lessons he’s learning every day of his life.
The film is shot so beautifully, every shot, no matter the content, is carefully planned and executed, mindful of the light, the most minute expression, the most expansive landscape. When we go on vacation, we say “Wish you were here” even though we don’t, it’s really a self-promoting, show of our good fortune but in “Wish I Was Here”, it’s an existential plea for wanting to live in one’s own life.
No question is silly, no answer ever patronising and while this film asks some vast questions, the answers – or rather, ideas of answers, are insightful and profound. Some go wildly against what we’ve been inculcated to believe and in breaking through those barriers, lends us a freedom that this film advocates in spades.
It’s an examination of contentment, an exploration of language and thought; of knowledge and meaning; passion and confidence, of lessons learned from the smallest being, the most mundane object or the most seemingly ineffectual moment in time, all enveloped in language from what will likely be the most quoted script, of yourselves as writers, or the late greats the likes of T.S Eliot, Robert Frost and Shakespeare and in the serene and complementary soundtrack that delicately draws you further into each scene.
“Wish I was Here’ is a spectacular film and I’m so proud of the work you have done to irk out a small slice of profundity in an industry of predominantly nonsensical projects dedicated solely to mass entertainment. In this film, you’ve not only asked the big questions and have tried to answer them with profound resolve, but you’ve given even seemingly mundane items like contact lenses, grand importance and life, through all the things they’ve seen.
The lessons learned are not only about passion and contentment, about simplicity and growth but that in not getting too caught up in where we think we need to look for spirituality or meaning but rather an expanse the likes of the infinite universe and imagining what that force may be trying to guide you through in the most challenging part of your life, no matter what form that guide may take, no matter what direction it may lead, just in accepting what comes, driving yourself forward and believing in the sense of self and in the pursuit of passion.
Congratulations on this grand accomplishment